Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

One Student Says it All

I often write notes of encouragement to students and I got one back today. This young man gets it. It is not about me- but about the power of reading. This fellow came to us in 9th grade having spent his life on computer programs and doing worksheets. The only books he read were those an entire class read together.

In his years with us, this young man has become a reader. There were no books in his home and he was amazed at what was in books. You see, kids will read if they have access, time, and comprehensible self-selected books! I never made him finish a book he did not like and never made him do a book report. We talked, laughed and argued about characters. He was exposed to book floods. He even likes to read some non-fiction. It was NEVER forced on him.

This student started off reading small books on a single genre and grew into more sophisticated books that cover many genres. You see, if we start kids off like this from the start, there will be little need for remediation. They wanted to put this kid in ESE when he came to us and I said, “Hell no.”

We have Common Core in schools- BOOKS. When the new Common Core starts, I will continue to do what leading reading-researcher Dick Allington suggested when he noted that at least 60 minutes of each 90 minute literacy block should involve students reading books THEY choose.  What an utter waste the new Common Core is!

The student I am referring to just finished his 100th book. I got a note today.

“Reading saved my life. It made me want to do good on all my other work. Thank you.”

The power of READING


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