Once the group, five students, were seated and attentive, I posed the following question…”What makes a student a ‘good reader’? First of all, fourth graders have strong opinions about their reading and the reading of their peers. They are well aware of who is struggling and who is over achieving. Second of all, their opinions are very worthwhile to hear and understand, and I felt strongly that having them voice their thoughts and opinions, in relation to this topic, could shed a lot of light on their thinking, and why they think a certain way. I also wanted to convey an implicit message; that is, “How you think, and feel, is important to me, and I want you to take ownership in your learning.”
The insights they provided me with, were VERY enlightening, and I want to share them with you. I think you’ll be surprised at how intuitive, thoughtful, and right on, their thinking is!
- “Good readers know why they are reading something and they don’t just read to read, they have reasons behind it.”
- “A lot of good readers will look through the book first, before they read the whole thing, and then they’ll read all of it…they look for pictures.”
- “Sometimes, if a reader is really good, they stop and write notes about what they are reading…like, if they don’t know a word they will stop and look it up, or if they don’t get something they’ll ask questions.”
- “Good readers can read really fast, they can a whole book in, like, a day!”
- “Well, if you’re a good reader, then you can read like you talk.”
As you can see…my students had a lot to share! I wasn’t sure where this question would lead us, but it turns out, we were able to continue this discussion for a good fifteen minutes. If you look closely at their comments, you’ll see that they’re right! Everything they mentioned is one aspect of what it takes to be a good reader. I was very impressed and proud of the thoughtfulness and metacognitive thinking my students displayed. Hopefully, their ability to understand what it takes to be a successful reader will help them in their own journey towards higher reading levels.