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New Report Finds Teachers Want More Independent Reading Time for Students

The recently released Teacher & Principal School Report: Focus on Literacy reveals that a vast majority of educators believe independent reading greatly benefits students; however, they also believe not enough time is being allocated to this endeavor.

The Scholastic-sponsored report asked 4,700 Pre-K–12 teachers and principals from across the country their views on literacy topics concerning independent reading. Respondents were asked their opinions on "the state of independent reading in today’s school, the home-to-school connection, and the importance of summer reading."

The report found that teachers would like to set aside more time for independent reading and reading aloud. Ninety-four percent of respondents agreed with the statement that "students should have time during the school day to read a book of their choice independently"; however, only 36 percent said that they were actively setting time aside for this activity. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed responded that would prefer to reserve more time for independent reading and reading aloud. According to the report, most teachers and principals lay the blame squarely on the "demands of the curriculum."

When it came to the importance of encouraging students to read at home, 69% said that promoting this practice was "among the most important things they do to help families be engaged with children’s learning." However, only a little more than half said this was "happening enough." The issue of year-round access to reading materials represented another area of disconnect between the ideal and the real, especially for schools in economically distressed areas. An overwhelming 96% of respondents said that "providing year-round access to books at home is important to enhancing student achievement,” but 69% of educators working in high-poverty schools said that their students did not currently have adequate access to books year-round.

As for summer reading, educators believe that it is quite necessary. "More than six in 10 educators (64%) promote literacy among students by encouraging summer reading—particularly those in elementary schools (77% vs. 53% and 43% in middle and high schools, respectively)," according to the report. 

There are plenty of eye-opening findings from the Scholastic report. You can check out a full comprehensive list of key findings here.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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