All learning, academic or otherwise, occurs through a process of
gradual release from teacher to learner. We in education refer to
this learning process as I do, We do, You do. First, the learning
is modeled by an expert (I do), and then together the learner and
the expert try out the new learning (We do). Next, the learner is
asked to try the new learning while the expert stands by to guide
or redirect the learner as needed (You do). Finally, to secure the
new learning, the learner must engage in repeated independent
practice of the new learning (You do).
Now lets apply this learning model to reading. Our students, who
are developing readers, receive modeling, guidance, and feedback
from their teachers while they try their new skills with text that
is just right for their instructional needs. However, to secure
their ability to process text at
increasing levels of complexity, developing readers must spend lots
of time both in school and at home practicing their learning with
texts that they can read independently.
The findings of more than 30 years of research on the importance of
independent reading are well documented in educational literature.
The benefits for intellectual development for learners are numerous
and clear: independent reading builds students background for
content knowledge such as history and science, improves their
vocabulary development, and accelerates their academic achievement
in all areas, including mathe
The Hillside School District embraces the belief that all students
are readers. Some students are reading letters and sounds, some are
reading poems or short, patterned texts that they have memorized.
Some students are reading simple stories and some are reading
complex texts with multiple themes. Some are reading fiction
realistic, fantasy, mystery, or tall tales. Some are reading
nonfiction about their favorite animals, or about history, a
biography, or memoir. Some are reading e-books or Kindles, or
websites or blogs, but they are
To continue to develop as readers, students must spend lots of time
reading text that they can read and choose
to read. As teachers and parents, we must find ways to
steal time whenever we can so our kids can engage in successful,
joyful independent reading.
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