Cub Connection


Teaching Reading Engagement: Focus, Stamina, and Building a Reading Life

Why is this goal important?

You could be the most eloquent teacher, the best strategy group facilitator, the most insightful conferrer. But if you send your kids back for independent reading and they don't read, then they won't make the progress you are hoping and working for (Allington 2011). To put it another way, "Without engagement, we've got nothing" (Serravallo 2010).

Engagement is everything. Research has shown that the amount of time kids spend practicing, on-task, with eyes on print, makes the biggest difference to their success as readers, and across content areas (Allington 2011; Anderson, Wilson and Fielding 1988; Krashen 2004; Cunningham and Stanovich 1991; Stanovich and Cunningham 1993; Pressley et al. 2000; Taylor,Frye, and Maruyama 1990).

An engaged reader is often one who is "motivated to read, strategic in their approaches to comprehending what they read, knowledgeable in their construction of meaning from text, and socially interactive while reading" (Guthrie, Wigfield, and You 2012, 602). This means that classroom in which independent reading is not always a solo task and kids interact in partnerships and clubs will likely have more engaged readers. It also means that teachers need to work to help readers construct meaning and that an engagement problem may actually be a symptom of something else - a child who is not understanding, for example. To say it another way, sometimes to hep readers with the goal of engagement, you actually need to work on comprehension (Ivey and Johnson 2013).

When you've ruled out comprehension as the root of an engagement issues and want to focus on engagement itself, you will find that the goal has a few parts. Some may argue that helping children to select books that are a good fit in terms of readability and that will be interesting to them in term of content should come first (Miller 2009; Von Sprecken, Kim, and Krashen 2000). Kids' attention and their ability to manipulate that focus and bring it back ot the task at hand is also important. Stamina also comes into play; the amount of time readers can sustain their reading often requires incremental growth over time and strategies to support that increase. When all of these are in place, readers may attain a condition that Atwell refers to as being "in the reading zone" (2007) or what Czikszentmihalyi calls "flow" (2008).

Jennifer Seravallo, The Reading Strategies Book (Chapter 2 Intro)

Important Dates

September 28 - October 2

  • Planning (28)
  • Fall Makeup Pictures (29)
  • Notability & YouTube Mini-Sessions (29)
  • Cub Singers (30)
  • Gifted Arts (1st)
  • Teacher Cadets @ CFG (1st)
  • Picture Orders Due (2nd)
  • Rain Date - First Tee (2nd)
  • Safe Schools Due (2nd)

October 5-9

  • Planning (5)
  • Faculty Meeting (6)
  • First Grade to Spartanburg Library (6)
  • Cub Singers (7)
  • Gifted Arts (8)
  • Intruder Drill (9)
  • Fall Fundraiser Incentive "Magic Show" (9)

October 12 - 16

  • Planning - Jan Shook presenting on ESOL updates during this time (12)
  • PBIS Committee Meeting (12)
  • Chick-Fil-A Spririt Night (13)
  • Goodies from Good News Club (13)
  • Cub Singers (14)
  • K5 Field Trip (14)
  • Terrific Kid (14)
  • SWP Fall Renewal (15)
  • Gifted Arts (15)
  • Fire Drill (16)
  • PTA Fun Day (16)