On my summer vacation I explored new places, met some fascinating people, and browsed through different artifacts and natural landscapes.
First, I traveled through the lavender fields of Provence, France. I also visited with a woman who restored her Italian villa in Tuscany. The lost drawings (now found) of Botticelli, a well-renowned Renaissance artist from nearby Florence, Italy, were superb. I met a famous comedian, a well-known actress, and, then I became acquainted with my favorite songwriter. Wow!
I discovered how delicious Asian cooking could be, and I went deep underground to explore the hidden life of trees. Then I followed dust tracks on a road in Florida, and I even met a bad monkey there. What a wonderful summer vacation! And I didn’t even leave my home. Of course, I was reading every day!
One of my favorite back-to-school class activities was Teacher’s Show and Tell. I loved sharing the books read during the summer with my students, even though I didn’t enjoy carrying them all the way to my classroom. I tried to think of it as “exercise,” all for the final goal of encouraging life-long readers.
Many teachers do not realize the importance of being a role model in this realm for students. Parents often don’t realize the importance of their modeling behavior, either. Many students have busy parents who rarely read in front of them, so I was determined that they see adults who actually enjoy reading books. See my Free Tip:
I loved sharing the excitement and fond memories encountered during my summer reading. I often read a paragraph or showed pictures from my books, even though they were for adults. I left them around the classroom, too, for browsing when the kids earned free time.
Little did they know that this time would be a prototype they could follow when later in the school year, I asked them to do one-minute descriptions of the books they were reading. Research indicates that the most effective impetus for independent reading is a recommendation from a peer. Students need to practice the skills they are learning by reading books independently at their own reading levels. Student power over their own reading has also been proved to be effective in developing reading skills.
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