Educators and librarians are finding ways to encourage independent reading through programs that make reading more social. Ideas include those of a librarian who created a teachers' reading club, in which they model independent reading by tackling popular children's books, plus other educators who are connecting students to reading groups or authors through social media and Skype.
Schools nationwide are integrating more technology in the classroom. Many have chosen to do so via closed systems in which administrators closely monitor student access, but one district in Pennsylvania is trying a different route. It has adopted an open-source model, giving high-school students administrative access to devices and online resources.
In this article, Stanford educator and author Denise Pope offers ideas for restructuring schools for student success. She calls for more cognitive engagement through the use of assignments that are meaningful to students. Other recommendations include more emphasis on project-based learning, less emphasis on grades and fewer transitions during the school day.
Selecting a nonfiction book that offers a compelling story along with knowledge is one way to make nonfiction books appeal to students, children's author Vicki Cobb says. Cobb has created a website called iNK Think Tank, which offers a list of award-winning children's nonfiction books for all ages and offers teachers and students a way to connect with the authors through videoconferencing during the school year.
Tablet computers such as iPads can help students share their reading insights with others, but students need to learn discipline for sustained and focused reading on such devices, writes Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In this blog post, Reich suggests teaching "attention" as a skill and helping students strike a balance between focusing on their assigned text and following links about the text.