What are some of the techniques/activities you use to make reading fun?

How do you know your students get it?

I am a high school English teacher from New York. I have a very, let's call them.... energetic, class of 10th graders. Not every student reads at their grade level, I am looking for innovative strategies to incorporate in my classroom so I can better assist everyone's need.

Any advice will be appreciated
Thanks dawn

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Dawn,
You and I have similar teaching backgrounds. I taught 9th grade English for 11 years. (I've taught other stuff too, but always at least one or two sections of freshmen.) I left the classroom in 2005 for what has turned into a very extended maternity leave, and at that point, I never thought or even knew about teaching English in a "2.0" sort of way (in terms of infusing the technology into the curriculum in ways you will read about here at Classroom 2.0).

That said, I can see a lot of potential for using the new web technologies to enhance my reading curriculum. For instance, one of my favorite activities was this thing I called "the Power Point book talk," in which students incorporated imagery and photos into a brief overview of a book's plot (no spoilers!) with a little author bio thrown in for good measure. I would definitely like to try that same assignment using some of the new tools, such as VoiceThreads. And I am very interested in facilitating literary discussion groups using a platform such as is found in Edublogs or the Ning environment.

But in truth, if/when I return to the classroom, my absolute best reading strategies will remain decidedly un-techie. First, my advice to you is to build a classroom library of young adult titles that is driven by the recommendations and interests of your students. This may take a while to do (many summers spent in used book shops and yard sales). So, be sure to also cultivate a relationship with your school librarian where he/she will do the same with the library's ya collection. If you don't know a lot about ya literature, bring your librarian to the classroom to give book talks to whet the kids' appetites.

Second, give kids time to read in class and hold them accountable for their reading through some kind of daily log, either paper-based or electronic. And don't be afraid to let kids "abandon" books when a subject or author just isn't working for them.

Last, let them talk about their reading. (Again, technology could really facilitate this.) I allowed them to give casual book talks in front of the class for extra credit. (Be sure to model how you think a book talk should look/sound). At least once each semester, sometimes twice, students had to prepare a structured book talk using PowerPoint that was researched, rehearsed, and formally presented. I get really excited when I consider all the new ways to share and archive students' slideshows online so parents, community, and future students can be inspired to read. Along similar lines, you might check out what Wesley Freyer is doing with VoiceThread.

Oh, and start with one new strategy or intervention at a time. Something like, "This semester, I think I'll try this . . . ."

I wish you all the best in your classroom endeavors. Maybe other CR 2.0 members who have more immediate, in-the-trenches experience will chime in with cutting-edge advice!
Thank you so much. I feel a lot better knowing I am not alone. The voice thread sounds wonderful, I will let you know how it works out...

be well
Dawn
Have you seen this? Google Lit Trips, looks intriguing.
WOW! I have never heard of that...I just took a look and it is awesome....thank you very much

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