Myth 1: Students shouldn’t be reading graphic novels.
I heard this so much when I first started teaching, and none of the reasons to support this myth make sense. We spend so much time differentiating our lessons. Why wouldn’t we want to support our students when they are reading on their own? I often suggest graphic novels to my students with IEPs. The pictures help with comprehension, and they often seem less intimidating to our non readers. Also, many graphic novels have higher reading levels than you may expect for books with pictures. There are options for students at all levels.
Myth 2: Students need to choose books at or above grade level.
Some teachers worry that if students are reading books below grade level, they will never improve their vocabularies. We need to remember that independent reading is not the only reading our students do. The coursework for your class and all of your students’ other classes are based on grade level vocabulary. They are exposed to new words daily. Independent reading is not going to hinder their vocabulary development, but it could turn into a great hobby.
Myth 3: Students need to complete all independent reading on their own time outside of class.
Modeling is incredibly important when we want students to form new habits. As teachers, we have no control over the reading habits that our students see at home, but we do have control over what our students see when they are with us in the classroom. By reading with students during silent reading time in class, we can model behavior they may not see anywhere else. Our students should all know at least one adult who reads regularly, and it can be you!
Myth 4: Students will just pretend to read if they are given class time.
Have I seen kids fake read? Absolutely. However, I honestly believe that students will read if they are given the right book. Spend your class library time helping students choose their books. Consider their interests and reading abilities, do some research on high interest novels, and ask the librarian for help with genres you may not be familiar with. Early in my career, I had a student argue that he wasn’t a reader. He had never read an entire novel before. Reading was something he never liked doing, and he didn’t plan on reading for me either. During silent reading, I gave him a novel from the Bluford Series. Not only did he read it, he read every other Bluford book available that year. Finding the right book is everything.
Check out these resources for independent reading accountability: