Reading stamina matters. Prior to the pandemic, nearly two-thirds of students in the US were below grade reading level for grade 4,8, and 12 (NAEP). If that isn't bad enough, UNESCO found that more than half of children and adolescents were not even learning worldwide. Furthermore, in September 2020, UNICEF reported that 1 billion children worldwide aren't learning at all. With these big picture stats and stories coming from the classroom, teachers need advice on helping students develop reading stamina. In episode 769 and this blog post, we're going to dig into reading stamina, why it is important, and practical ways we can help our students progress with reading stamina. My goal is to create a useful resource that teachers everywhere can use to get started with building reading stamina.
Is reading stamina a need in today's classroom?
Andrea Yon, a rural South Carolina teacher has taught for seven years. In a recent news article, Andrea noted that her struggling readers in grades 7-8 used to read at a grade 5 or 6 (Barshay). She says since the pandemic, her struggling readers in grades 7-8 have now dropped to third and fourth-grade levels. Furthermore, she says that they used to read for twenty minutes in silent reading, but that now students are looking up at her in three to five minutes.
Andrea is noticing what many teachers are saying: students are struggling with reading stamina.
The life long consequences when a student cannot read.
The World LIteracy Foundation published a report in September 2015, “The Economic and Social Cost of Illiteracy” that revealed that those who are illiterate:
- are more likely to be trapped in poverty,
- are more likely to have limited opportunities for employment,
- have higher chances of poor health,
- have higher chances of turning to crime,
- and have a higher chance of dependence on social welfare if it is available.
5 Ways to Build Reading Stamina in Adolescent Learners
Lisa Hollihan Allen
MSE, teacher, literacy coach, author
0:15 Big Picture Stats
0:54 Andrea Yon's story
1:24 World Literacy Foundation study of the economic and social cost of illiteracy
Sponsor: Today’s sponsor, Literal is an app to help students in grades 6-12 engage with reading. The books literally are broken into text message-sized chunks making reading easier, plus Literal has classroom management features for teachers. Go to https://www.literalapp.com and use the promo code “coolcat” to get a free Educator account to try Literal in your classroom.
2:45 Introduction to Lisa Hollihan Allen
- 3:12 What is reading stamina? (NCTE Position Statement on Independent Reading)
- 3:51 How does Lisa talk to her students about reading stamina and how to refocus when distracted?
- 4:14 What do you do about “fake reading”?
4:57 Idea 1: Opportunity. Provide protected opportunities for students to read.
Research Note: There is a direct correlation that the more kids read, the better they are at reading.
Resource: How a school threw out their reading program and finally got everyone excited about reading. An interview with Todd Nesloney.
5:53 Idea 2: Choice. Give students a choice to self-select what they read during independent reading time.
Principle: Interest drives engagement.
6:29 Idea 3: Conferencing. Help Kids feel like they are part of a reading community. They need to talk about it.
RESOURCE: See Laura Robb’s The On-Your-Feet Guide to Student-Led Discussions
Larry Ferlazzo “A Look Back: A New Study Finds a Specific Form of “Collaboration” Gets The Best Results“
7:31 Idea 4: Vision. Advertise great reads. Give people “book talks” and book tastings. Have a great classroom library. Get them out there trying things.
Resource: See Penny Kittle's “Book Love: Developing Depth Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers
9:02 Idea 5: Challenge. We need to challenge and encourage kids to stretch and read about a topic that they are more interested in reading about. Work to help them read longer books and branch out into other genres.
- 10:55 What can teachers do who are struggling to reengage kids?
- 12:20 How reading stamina impacts other subjects.
- 12:35 What words can you use with students struggling with stamina?
- 13:08 How does she talk to students who are struggling?
- 13:50 How can teachers be encouraged who are overwhelmed with helping kids improve reading?
- 14:40 How does Lisa connect with parents?
16:15 About today's Sponsor, the Literal App, and use promo code coolcat to get a free educator account.
17:10 Take the Simple Action Step Challenge by finding something you can do in your classroom now. Here are a few practical ideas for your classroom.
Take Action in Your Classroom Now
What will you do with your learning? Take one small step today. You can do it!
Start the conversation with your students about reading stamina.
Know what reading stamina is. Talk to your students about reading stamina and how to build it. Help them understand when they are getting off task and how to refocus as well as the normal frustration that can come with learning to read something new.
Look at Lisa's 5 steps and determine your next step.
I've created a graphic for this page summarizing the five steps. Set a small goal to try one new thing this week. Innovate like a turtle! 🐢
There are also lots of links in this article.
Share your story.
In the show, I talked about teacher Emily Hardeman (@EmilyBHardeman) sharing her story of kids loving the reading intervention group she's created for them. Emily is an example of a teacher constantly sharing success stories. We need more positive stories of teachers and students persisting to move forward in reading. Helping kids read is an act of love that will change their life forever.
Join online conversations.
Join in conversations and build your PLN. On February 5, 2022, the Literacy Matters Conference will happen online. Register and join the conversation! If this event has passed, find another online event and join in.
Try the Literal App
Barshay, J., et al. (2021, November 10, 2021). ” America’s reading problem: Scores were dropping even before the pandemic: remote classes made things worse.” Retrieved January 21, 2022, 2022, from https://hechingerreport.org/americas-reading-problem-scores-were-dropping-even-before-the-pandemic/.
(NAEP), N. A. o. E. P. (2019, October 14, 2021). “How Did U.S. Students Perform on the Most Recent Assessments?” The Nation’s Report Card. Retrieved January 31, 2022, 2022, from https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/.
UNESCO (2017, September 2017). “More Than One-Half of Children and Adolescents Are Not Learning Worldwide.” Fact Sheet. Retrieved January 31, 2022, 2022, from http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs46-more-than-half-children-not-learning-en-2017.pdf.
UNICEF (2020, September 2020). “Education and COVID-19.” Retrieved January 31, 2022, 2022, from https://data.unicef.org/topic/education/covid-19/.
World Literacy Foundation. (2015, September 2015). “The Economic & Social Cost of Illiteracy.” Retrieved January 31, 2022, from https://speakingbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/WLF-FINAL-ECONOMIC-REPORT.pdf.
About Lisa Hollihan Allen - Bio as Submitted
Lisa Hollihan Allen, MSE, is a teacher, literacy coach and author. She began her education career as a middle school English teacher and has taught in both public and Catholic schools. She currently is a K-12 reading specialist for the West De Pere School District in Wisconsin where she works with students every day as a literacy interventionist. Her role in education expanded when she worked as a literacy leader and high school literacy team facilitator for Wisconsin CESA 7 extending educational opportunities to all corners of the state and across the nation. Lisa served as an adjunct instructor at St. Norbert College where she taught the course Language Analysis and Applied Linguistics. She was a state finalist for the Kohl Teacher Fellowship.
Lisa and Dr. Katherine McKnight wrote the book, Strategies to Support Struggling Adolescent Readers, Grades 6-12 for their middle and high school colleagues who were frustrated that they didn't have the skills and knowledge they needed to help their students who were struggling with reading in the different disciplines. She has published articles in the Wisconsin English Journal and has spoken at state and national conferences on aspects of secondary literacy.
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Strategies to Support Struggling Adolescent Readers, Grades 6-12
Wisconsin English Journal
Reading Aloud to Older Students: Benefits and Tips
Wisconsin English Journal
Decoding at the Secondary Level
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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