Model Reading for Students

The past couple of days I’ve been tossing around the idea of what to write. What I have been thinking about is why do I read at school? Why would I want to sit in front of my students and read when I could be checking my email? The students have a set 20 minutes of reading the must do a day, so that allows me time to do what I need to do, correct?


Well, I don’t believe that. I sit and read as well. In fact, I am upset with myself because I don’t read as often as I feel that I should. So why do I feel like I need to read?

Students need led by example. If we are constantly just checking our email and expecting them to read are we setting an example? I feel many students are not made to read at home and so the only time they have time to read is at school when I make them. So again, why don’t I just sit and do my own thing?

I feel reading is very valuable and I want to be able to show students that reading never stops as you get older. Just because you are no longer in school doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be reading. By showing students that I am reading and showing them the expectation that I have can help them realize that reading for themselves is very valuable.

There are times that I sit and finish reading and then I say, “Hey this is what I read today.” I share with them what I read and it helps them realize how much fun reading can be. I have read some excerpts from my reading to help them realize that what I’m reading shows a different view of how we see things.

I recently read to them out of “The Element” by Ken Robinson this paragraph:
“When my family and I moved from England to America, our two children, James and Kate, started at high school in Los Angeles. In some ways, the system was very different from the one we knew in the UK. For example, the children had to study sone subjects they had never taken before-like American history. We don’t teach American history in Britain. We suppress it. Our policy is to draw a veil across the whole sorry episode. We arrived in the United States four days before Independence Day, just in time to watch others revel in having thrown the British out of the country. Now that we’ve been here a few years and know what to expect, we tend to spend Independence Day indoors with our blinds closed, flicking through old photographs of the Queen.”

Why did I share this passage? To share something interesting I read. To share with them the different view of a big holiday for the United States. I would not have thought about this if I would not have read it.

Reading, in student’s minds, is a task they ‘have’ to do. They don’t want to do it. However, I feel when they see me reading, they can take more ownership in their own reading and hopefully enjoy it more.

I will share more of what I have seen in my classroom and students reading.


About Anthony Purcell

I am Anthony Purcell and I am currently teaching math in Oklahoma.
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3 Responses to Model Reading for Students

  1. I think it’s wonderful you are a model reader for your students. When they read, you read. Bravo! If you would like to learn more about teaching reading, I suggest two books: (1) Donalyn Miller’s THE BOOK WHISPERER & (2) Kelly Gallagher’s READICIDE. By the way, I found your blog through the #engchat hashtag on Twitter.

  2. Sarah says:

    I really think this is important with students. I used to have a class of 7 – 9 year olds. After lunch was quiet reading time. Most teachers used this time to test their students or to catch up on marking. I used to sit and read. I told the children if they were stuck on a word they could come and ask me, or ask what a word meant. Otherwise I did not interfere in their reading. At the end of the session we would talk about interesting things we had read, me included. I never let on to the headmaster I was not testing their reading each day.

    At the end of the school year, the headmaster took them for their reading age test. Almost every child had increased their reading age by at least 2 years during the school year. Lots of these children were from very deprived homes and were way below average at the start, but caught up during the year. More importantly, they loved reading by the end of it. Many of these children never saw anyone read in real life. I think what you do is so much more effective than what you say.

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