Independent Reading: The Importance Of Student Choice

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KIS Middle Schoolers are taking the lead on independent reading. Empowered with choice, our readers always have a book in their hand, or Kindle, or iBooks or iPhone or iPad or… you get the point! On any given day around the school, you will find a middle schooler soaking up the words of John Green, Veronica Roth, Rainbow Rowell, or Linda Sue Park. As an English department (and with the support of resident librarian extraordinaire, Kristi Green), we are committed to helping all readers find books that they can understand, that are thought-provoking, and that fuel the intrinsic value of reading. Our research-based independent reading program supports students in developing a habit of daily reading and, along with the help of frequent teacher conferences, promotes crucial 21st-Century critical thinking skills.

Reinforcing your adolescent reader is as easy as taking an interest in what they choose to read (even if it is that robot fantasy series they can not put down!). Talking about what you are reading and asking questions about the students’ books are other effective ways to reinforce reading. To push that support a step further, help your child buy books, check out the Goodreads website for reading recommendations, or ask your child’s English teacher for a good-fit book!

If we haven’t convinced you yet about the power of choice reading, consider “the fact that CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books a month.” (Source) These highly successful business people have spent years reading books of their choice. Reading is not only a hobby for these top performers, it is a way of life. We all know middle school is the perfect time to ensure that these life-long habits carry into adulthood. Who knows? Hiding behind the covers of a book at KIS could be the next great influential world leader!


Text and photos from Karen Callahan and Sarah Marslender.

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