If students aren’t reading at home, they’re not learning in school, writes Dan Brown, a high school English teacher in Washington, D.C., on Teacher Leaders Network. He has students who read avidly but often skip journal entries and other assignments. They do very well on standardized tests. His “worker bees” do the assignments but dislike reading and never do it unless forced. They earn low test scores and write poorly.
Brown cites Veda Jairrels’s African Americans and Standardized Tests: The Real Reason for Low Test Scores. Jairrels, an education professor and lawyer, believes black parents don’t read enough to their young children or encourage older children to read for pleasure at home.
When I tell African American parents about the importance of taking their children to the library, they sometimes reply, “My child has plenty of books at home.” My unspoken response is, “No, you don’t. You just think you do.”
Children of all races aren’t doing enough home reading, writes Book Whisperer Donalyn Miller. In an e-mail to parents, which she hasn’t yet sent, she asks parents to do more. She doesn’t assign reading logs, but asks for 30 minutes an evening of reading and 30 minutes on weekends.
It may not seem that I assign much homework in language arts, but that is because I want the children to read and read and read.
Meeting with children during conferences each week, I am told time and time again that, “I do not have time to read.”
. . . The only people who can carve out reading time for your children at home are you, their parents. This is hard, but it matters more than any other academic support you could provide.
It’s difficult for parents who aren’t readers themselves to raise kids to love reading. But I think Miller is worried about literate parents who’ve simply set other priorities.