Setting aside time for students to enjoy reading a book of their choice is an established practice in the English Department at Linden High School. Encouraging students to engage in and discover their own reading preferences improves reading stamina, comprehension and writing skills.
Exposing students to a variety of reading options is one of the factors that contributes to student achievement. In collaboration with Mrs. Kissel, Media Assistant at the high school, Mrs. Draper and Dr. George have exposed their students to a variety of reading choices through weekly book talks and activities.
Other factors observed in the classroom that contribute to reading enjoyment are having a significant amount of time to start a book, as well as whether the book is from the student’s personal library. Using these observations, Kissel applied to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and was awarded a grant of $1,350 for the Independent Reading Initiative at Linden High School. Linden High School is the only school in Genesee County to receive the grant in 2019.
The grant plan drafted by Draper, George, and Kissel allows each student to receive a book of their choice prior to each significant break in the school calendar. Students self-select the book, are given the book to keep, and have the entire break to start the book before they continue reading it during independent reading time in the classroom after break.
Both classrooms received their first book selections the week before Christmas Break. Even though it wasn’t independent reading day, the students were so excited to start their books they begged for time to read in class. “How can you argue with that?” said Draper.