Every Friday, my students and I participate in DEAR (Drop Everything and Read). I've been doing this for a few years and then felt academically justified after reading Naked Reading.
As much as I love DEAR, it can be challenging. I work in a Title I school (which merely means that the majority of our students are on free/reduced lunch). My school is also predominantly hispanic and less than fifty percent are on grade level. We also have a high transit rate due to many of our students live in apartments.
The initial reaction when I share with my students that every Friday is DEAR, not surprising, is groans. And then they test me. Is she really going to make me do this? We have a system if they forget their book, which includes calling home. I think it's important for parents to be aware and involved.
Why do I do this? Because I really believe that kids who say they hate to read haven't found the right book for them. I suggest to they non-eager readers to create a list of five things that they enjoy and my mission is to find a book that they'll like. With my lower level readers, it's a bit more of a struggle. First, they don't like to read because it's a struggle ON TOP OF every book that they've read they've been forced to. Trying to create independent readers in this category is tough. They don't want to read Junie B Jones in front of their peers. But the less they read, the less likely they'll catch up lexile wise.
What makes the initial fight worth it all, however, is knowing that these kids are independently finding books and reading them that they might never have found before. I generally have a few converts by the end of the year.
Do you have any book recommendations for lower level readers?