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?


  1. Oh dear. I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions for early-early readers. Best I have is middle grade fiction like the City of Ember or the Percy Jackson books...

  2. I'm not very good at recommendations for lower-level readers, I'm afraid. :/ But it makes me sad that the kids are struggling so much, and that they haven't come to enjoy reading (yet). I used to love it in school when we had Sustained Silent Reading. I kind of wish jobs had that too. :p

  3. How old are your kids? I have lots of ideas for older struggling readers. The graphic novels help lots of kids who struggle with giant chunks of text. Books I call browsable books like Guiness Book of World Records and DK books can be good. The first Harry Potter is pretty doable for a lot of kids and they love carrying around that enormous book.

    I'd love to start a DEAR time at our school.


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