As I mentioned the other day, there's been quite a discussion on The Writers' Union of Canada's listserv on the NEA report on falling literacy. Lots of interesting debate. Here's what one school is doing to keep kids reading books. This was posted by writer and teacher, Barbara Pelman, who is a teacher at Reynolds Secondary School in Victoria. (Quoted with permission):
My school, Reynolds, reads for 20 minutes every day, across the board, not just in English classes. The whole school shuts down to read. The vp's are "reading police" to herd kids on spares into the library. Our library take outs have increased over 200% since we began the program three years ago. When we tested the kids after two years, their grade point average went up a grade (yes it was a little test, with a little sampling, but it is something, and it is positive). We have authors in the schools 5 or 6 times a year, and poetry readings in the evenings. More of this is needed.
I've heard of similar programs -- everyone in the school, including the custodian, secretary, administration, support staff etc. stops to read. Other ideas?