The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 3 - Page 15

15

Tech Talk

and strategies more than readers who do not read out of choice and enjoyment.

The goal of reading teachers and teachers in general is to create an atmosphere that promotes a love of reading. Teachers know that it is important to give students opportunities to read independently and to enjoy self-selected books in order to create lifelong readers inside and outside of the classroom. Allowing students to have time in class to choose their own books to read for extended periods of time can improve both the comprehension and the fluency of the students engaged in the activity (Fisher, 2001). Students who read on their own in and out of school typically score higher in the area of comprehension on standardized tests because they have practiced their reading skills

Dorn and Jones (2012) supported this when they stated that independent reading “allows children to practice cue integration, fluency, and strategy application on materials within their reading control” (p. 34).

In addition, it seemed likely that students’ who had teachers that felt they had the support of the school district in terms of training and supplies were more likely to have a positive view of independent silent reading. The guidance, consideration, and scaffolding of a teacher could have a huge impact on students’ learning as mentioned by Miller (2002) when she wrote, “Children know I’m not going to ask them to do something beyond their capabilities. I want them to succeed, and I offer recommendations that are just within their reach” (p. 43). Also, teachers’ that believed independent reading improved student engagement, comprehension, and fluency were far more likely to implement independent silent reading in their own classrooms. Miller (2002) discussed how children can understand that “they share in the responsibility for their learning, when they have a say in the books they read, and when what they are asked to do has meaning, they are able to read for long stretches at a time” (p. 43). Kasten and Wilfong (2005) stated that people tend to gravitate toward jobs, hobbies, and other activities that they perceive themselves as being good at completing and so teachers should teach and give their students opportunities to see themselves as readers so they will make the choice to read on their own.

Review of the Literature

When it comes to independent reading, it is widely accepted among scholars and educational professionals that there is a relationship between students’ engagement in reading and self-selection of books (Miller, 2002). Also, because of the occurrence of student engagement it was much more likely students would choose to independently read and could improve vocabulary, reading fluency, and reading comprehension (Harlaar, Deater-Deckard, Thompson, DeThorne, & Petrill, 2011). Teacher acceptance of the importance of independent reading and the need to improve on classroom techniques to engage students in reading through self-selection of books and providing appropriate instruction on skills to help students dig deeper into the meaning of the text could possibly provide dividends when it came to improvement in reading comprehension. Independent reading when used as part of a balanced literacy approach or comprehensive literacy approach with some form of assessment, goal setting, and teacher observation attached is believed to be more effective than when used on its own (Dorn & Soffos, 2001).

Student engagement. Student engagement is recognized as one key to creating lifelong

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