Unit 1: The Research


Digital Journal

Please access the digital journal for the course. This is where you will save your thoughts and reflections as you progress. Save this as an editable document on your device.
Access Here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z_dbgGWpBEYmSR8C1f2pG0R9fFvi1nxoArMcxQvwc9k/edit?usp=sharing



First, reflect: What are your own feelings about reading? How often do you read? What beliefs do you have about the correlation between reading and skills such as writing, test taking, and thinking? Brainstorm in your digital journal to create a record of your current thoughts.

In order to “get on the same page” we need to review what the research says about the effects of reading for pleasure.

What Does the Research Say About Reading for Pleasure?


You may wish to record notes from the following section in your journal.

Why should we encourage students to read for pleasure?

Increased Literacy

According to the Nation’s Report Card, two out of three students leave school without proficient literacy skills (NAEP, 2019). This carries into adulthood, as most adults do not make time for reading either, since teens who do not read become adults who do not care for reading. This creates a struggle later in life, as reading comprehension and attention spans are down (Twenge, 2018). Further, reading is a fundamental skill which is critical for understanding complex issues and developing critical thinking skills, something employers ask for, and something which is imperative that informed citizens have (Twenge, 2018).

Research has linked reading with performance on standardized tests. Though as teachers we don’t want to focus on tests, we recognize that this gain is likely due to increased ability in reading. I have constructed a graphic to illustrate this, based on information from Visible Learning for Literacy (Frey, 2016). Cadmus Project.jpg

Understand Complex Text

We want our students to be able to understand complex text. This understanding can be gained and practices through frequent ability-level reading.

Reading Volume

Reading for pleasure increases the reading volume. Doug Fisher (2016) says that reading volume matters, and that teachers should encourage wide, independent reading. Whole class reading does not raise the reading volume. Choice raises the reading volume, which is why it is important to create opportunities for students to choose their own books, and provide time for reading them.

Empathy and Perspectives

Reading is not just something for kids to do - it builds empathy and encourages alternate-perspective-taking. Vezzali, Stathi, Giovannini, Capozza & Trifiletti, 2014 You can read more about this here: https://www.good.is/articles/literacy-and-empathy




What is the most compelling argument in your opinion?
What information might you take with you to your next staff meeting?
Please write this in your digital journal.

Proceed to Next Unit

We want students to want to read more. So what can we do in class to support that?

Find out more in Unit II: Building Excitement

Course Navigation

Ashley Howell's Mini Course Home

Unit I: The Research

Unit II: Building Excitement

Unit III: In Practice

Unit IV: Product