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Linking Linear Reading and Shared Reading

As an English teacher, I find myself often concerned when students lack linear reading skills. Just recently, and honors (!) student stayed after school to speak with me after he performed poorly on a quiz. He confessed he was used to learning how to make sense of text through class discussion. He told me when he reads his eyes just go over the words on the page. He doesn’t really think about the characters or what’s happening to them, since he depends on the teacher and class discussion to do the work for him.

I think as a future librarian, I would work to combine shared reading activities with linear activities. Many colleges now require students to participate in shared reading activities, and as I librarian I would follow some of the modified models I’ve heard about happening in schools throughout my region, as well as in various cities. (I used to live in Illinois, and Chicago often had shared reading activities. So cool!) We could pick a text that the whole school would read–including teachers, hall monitors, and administrators. I would use the library as the base of operations, but I would sponsor sustained silent reading activities throughout the school. I would work collaboratively with classroom teachers to integrate the book into their specific curricular area. That way, they could use passage in class that the class could interpret together and then link to lessons in that particular subject area. I could help teachers find and use secondary readings to help enrich students’ understanding of the primary text. We could run research projects, have a school blog on the topic, and so much more.

That’s what I’d do!

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