Sunday, June 7, 2015

Book Review: Igniting a Passion for Reading

Steven L. Layne
Scholastic, 2009
Source: purchased
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Steven L. Layne’s passion for teaching reading jumps from the page and into your lap.  You have to decide what to do with it from there.  In Igniting a Passion for Reading, Layne lays out specific strategies, activities and procedures he believes have helped make his students into lifetime readers.  What he suggests--no, insists upon--should not be surprising if you’ve been teaching reading for any small amount of time.  Unfortunately, with schools hyper focused on test scores and STEM initiatives, reading for the sake of reading has been pushed to the side.  The focus in this book is not teaching skill, but teaching will.

As a middle school teacher, I have parents start out the year by telling (with their child right there) that “Johnny” or “Mandy”  isn’t a reader, so good luck. Usually these are my kids who struggle. It’s not because they can’t read, but because they don’t want to and why should they if they can still get by with good grades? I’ve been looking for ways to pull them in--convince them it’s worth it.  Steven Layne has given me ways--so many ways!

My one major problem with this is that I want to do everything he suggests. In a forty-eight minute period I’m already strapped for time. I’m going to try and incorporate the read aloud two times a week and the Buzz About Books once a week, and try to get in a book chat now and then, but Can I fit it in?  Truly fit it in?  We’ll see.  The best part about this is that Layne not only gives you step by step instruction on how you can implement these strategies, but examples and masters to use in your classroom.  It’s also really easy to read, meaning it’s a great summer professional development read! I read a chapter here, and a chapter there over the first two weeks of break, taking notes as I went along and was still able to read my fiction books as well.    

I definitely recommend Igniting a Passion for Reading by Steven L. Layne to anyone who teaches--whether you’re a reading teacher or a social studies teacher.  If you are a teacher of reading or literature, there are so many great ideas you can incorporate into your classroom--some of them don’t even take up classroom time!  Igniting a Passion for Reading is my new go to recommendation for new teachers!

If you like this book, then make sure you also check out The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. She has a second book out as well, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

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