Educators are bombarded with new research, it seems daily, which is great but is also overwhelming because it means that they have to constantly adjust what they are doing to meet the demands of a changing world.
Not only do teachers have to plan their curriculum (a lot of time during their off-contract hours), teach 7 hours out of the day, attend countless meetings during their prep time or on-contract time, attend many workshops during the summer (No, they do NOT get summers off!), grade papers at home when they could be spending quality time with family, attend their students’ extracurricular activities, etc., they also spend limitless hours reading about current research, changing and modifying the plans they’ve already made…and the cycle stays in motion. Then they go straight to Pinterest to gain insight into how others are doing it in order to draw inspiration. What did we do before Pinterest? 😉
It’s a thankless and highly criticized job, but one with extrinsic rewards that are minimal compared to the intrinsic ones.
It is a calling.
Vast amounts of research shows that students are not reading recreationally. Sometime around 4th grade is where it starts to drop off. Then it continues to spiral downward.
This year my school elected to assess every student’s reading level. Lexile measures give the text complexity level (reading comprehension) of a particular individual. This number matches a reader to texts that he/she can read comfortably, yet with just the right amount of challenge to keep increasing their number. Assessing our entire student body was a pretty big feat considering that we have 1500 students in just 2 grade levels. It took great planning and organization.
First, we thought it would be advantageous to have our teachers take the reading assessment so they could help the students troubleshoot any issues that could potentially arise. Not only did this give teachers a leg up, but they also received their own Lexile measures.
Next, we assessed our students, and looking at the data was very telling. We had many students in the 9th grade reading on 1700+ Lexile! On the other hand, we had some 8-9th grade students identified as struggling readers.
And it gave me a purpose. The research I’ve done personally has inspired me to promote literacy different from ways we’ve promoted before. I want to document some of it here on this blog. In other ways, I’ll promote it more subtly within the walls of my school, among the teachers I have the pleasure of working with and the students I’m fortunate to see daily. I hope it will help our teachers see an increase in our reading levels, inspire other students to read, and create a literacy-rich culture at my school that will continue throughout the year and beyond.
Here’s to the beginning!