‘Reading can’t be the thing we do when we have extra time’

Guest post by Lakes English teacher Neil Lesinski

“All good days begin with reading.” This quote, spoken by literacy expert Dr. Janet Allen, was the focus of a two-day conference that a group of D117 English teachers attended November 14 and 15. Dr. Allen’s passion for reading and the power of stories was evident in the tears that welled in her eyes as she spoke about the value of literacy in the lives of teachers and students. 

People often question making reading a priority in all classes, but Dr. Allen made it clear that reading should be a top priority in everyone’s life, every day: “Reading can’t be the thing we do when we have extra time.” Essentially, reading is the key to independence, and we as teachers must foster a love of reading in our students in order to “give them the tools to have a voice in society and the workplace.”

Here are some quick facts Dr. Allen offered during her talk:
  • Using context clues to define a word is only successful 1 in 20 times.
  • For every grade level a student is behind in vocabulary, he/she would need to read for 90 minutes a day in order to catch up with those that are at grade level within two years.
  • Reading for 25 minutes a day for 200 days a year equals 1,000,000 new words seen and around 1,000 new words learned and retained.

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