Developing an Aesthetic Reading Approach: What You Can Do

 

 

Introduction 

During middle school, many students begin to lose interest in reading things that interest them. Many other things come up during this age such as becoming the social butterfly that they want to be. However, as a future teacher, I feel that it is extremely important to still motivate these students to enjoy reading. Below, are facts about how the love of reading is being diminished in our schools and what YOU as a future teacher can do about it. 

 

What is an "aesthetic" reader? 

An aesthetic reader is one who is reading for the experience of it all. They are engaged and experience the flows of the writing in which they are reading. These types of readers have a passion for reading and truly enjoy it. It's not a chore to them, but they read things that are of interest to them and can really engage in their reading.The opposite of this type of reading is efferent readers.  Simply put, these readers are reading to gain a piece of information. This type of reading is becoming more and more prevalent in our schools because of the emphasis on testing.

Other Words You May Want to Know

Readicide- defined by Kelly Gallagher: the killing of the love for reading 

Imaginative rehearsals- things that a student can take away from their reading that relate to the real world versus key literary elements 

Reading flow- when a reader becomes so engaged in their reading that the rest of the world seems to disappear 

50/50 Approach- developing recreational readers as well as academic readers

Choice- give students the choice as to what they read and find what interests them for those are things they are most likely to read about 

AccessibilityProvide texts that are within a student’s range of reading capabilities. In order to promote lifelong learning, students need to read books that they are able to handle. 

What's the problem? Here are the Facts 

 

 

How can YOU help? 

Kelly Gallagher within his book, Readicide, gives THREE ingredients to a better reader: 1) Students must have interesting books to read. 2) They must have time to read the books in school. 3) Lastly, they must have a place to read their books. Give your students more freedom to chose what they would like to read and expand on their definition of reading to more than just novels. Reading can be anywhere and everywhere. For adolescents, that includes the media which is not always bad. Include these ingredients in your classroom every day to ensure better success with your readers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Practice: What Works 

There are many studies out there that you will come across as you try to tackle your struggling readers. Some strategies work and others crumble. Below are a few articles that I believe you will find very helpful as you try to help your students in your classroom. 

After 3rd Grade: Improving Literacy for Older Students

This article discusses how students pass the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, what they struggle with in literacy. The facts about our adolescent's reading skills are all here and are overall astonishing. 

Literacy Needs Of Adolescents

This article dives into what the literacy needs are of young adolescents through the students' eyes. Students are able to tell you what they struggle with in reading or any subject for that matter. It's important that you listen to them but also devise a plan in order to help them become better readers. 

The Peter Effect 

This article goes into depth about how teachers simply can not give what they do not have. If you do not show your students that you too love reading, you can not pretend. You have to show them the importance of reading by reading yourself. 

Accelerating Reading: Best Practice? 

Think back to your classroom as a student- not the educator. How did you feel about accelerating reading? Did you have it? This article explains how this type of literary tracking may not be best for every student. 

Choosing Not to Read 

Why are our students choosing not to read? What happened from elementary to now that they lost interest in reading? This article provides information about these topics and can be a great resource for educators to understand why their students may be struggling. 

Read Alouds In Middle School 

Common Core Standards are nationwide and are taking charge in many schools across the country. Read alouds were most prevalent in elementary- but are they helpful in middle schools? This article gives great detail on why/why not read alounds may be helpful in our middle school classrooms. 

 

Why Our Students Struggle 

If you walk into a classroom, what is the first thing you see? What is the first thing you hear? Do you see students reading? Do you see if they have a place for them to read? Are there books lining the shelves? Do you hear students talking about their books? As a preservice teacher, I answered no to many of these questions. Students weren't actively engaged in their reading and there was simply no time to read. Every teacher I talked to said it- but why? STANDARDIZED TESTS- that's why. The emphasis on test scores are predominant in most schools across the nation. Although we are building incredibly intelligent academic readers, we are forgetting that recreational reading is just as important. Students will know how to take a test and in turn begin to dislike reading for that reason. Remember the three ingredients to build a better reader, but also visit this article, regardless if you are a literacy teacher or not, in order to better your teachings of literacy. 

4 Components to Promote Literacy Engagement 

This article tackles what we can do as teachers in our classrooms to teach critical literacy.

  • Choice- Allow students the choice in what they read in school 
  • Accessibility- Provide students with books that are within their range of development; literacy that provides a challenge but isn't too easy for them
  • Rereading- Rereading helps build and extend the knowledge of students; can be used as a study strategy or a "fix it" strategy
  • Support- Provdide books or types of literacy that prose a challenge for students so that they are able to get the instructional support needed; this enhances the knowledge of students and provides them with strategies on how to get through challenging reading

Math and Science Educators- Critical Literacy 

 This article dives into the argument that math and science eduators are not credited to teaching literacy- but they most certainly are! A few of the key topics are as follows: 

  • Reliance on the Textbook
  • Emphasis on getting the correct answers
  • There is NO time to teach content and literacy. 
  • Classroom Application of Critical Literacy Concepts

 

Resources 

Throughout this page, you will have found various links to articles, websites, and books in which I gained my information. These resources I found both informational as a pre-service teacher, but can also help distinguished teachers improve their classroom and literacy teaching development. 

 

Video

Below is an embedded video of a Ted Talk that I found quite influential in my life. Before you even begin your teaching career, you first need to have a passion for doing what you are doing. This was the motivation behind all of this research; one can not learn to read if the person who is standing in front of them has no interest in them whatsoever. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha Schlabach 

Summer Session 2014

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