Welcome to the JUST READ program in the Northern Lights School Division No. 69.
What is the "Just Read" Initiative?
"Just Read" is a home reading program. Students should be reading each night as part of their reading practice. Titles of books they read are recorded and handed in to their teachers on the last school day of the week.
What is the purpose of "Just Read"?
This initiative is based on the research that the more students read the better readers they become which has a great impact on achievement in all subjects. Emily Calhoun (1998), in the Literacy for All document, reports that there is a high correlation between extensive reading outside of school and high vocabulary development and reading comprehension. Frank Smith (1998), in The Book of Learning and Forgetting, reports the research findings that teenagers learn an average of 3400 words a year. The number of new words learned ranged from 1500 to 8500 words per year. What made the difference? READING!
How much reading do students need to do outside of school?
The research suggests that when students, reading at their appropriate reading levels, reach certain targets, there is a significant impact on growth in reading and writing. These are the minimum targets that we have chosen for students in Northern Lights School Division:
- Kindergarten - 5 picture books/week (read or read to them)
- Grades1-2 - 5 picture books/week
- Grades 3-4 - 3 short chapter sized books/week (more if still in picture books)
- Grades 5-8 - 2 chapter sized books/week
- Grades 9-12 - 1 adult sized novel/week
We hope that the students will be reading a variety of books, with a balance between fiction and non-fiction.
Why is there such a focus on literacy now?
The technological/informational age that we are living in today demands a far higher level of literacy skills that has ever been needed in the history of humankind. Delaine Eastin (1999) in ASCD Yearbook, 1999: Preparing Our Schools For the 21st Century, says "in ten years, there will be two kinds of people; the well educated and the hardly employable". She goes on to say that technology is eliminating jobs that only require knowledge of mechanics and arithmetic and "it is creating jobs for people who understand the forces at work behind numbers, words and ideas".
Why Can't I Skip My Twenty Minutes of Reading Tonight?
Article - Read Widely and Read Well
Quotes about Reading from some of our famous Canadian scholars and authors
Students who are having difficulties with literacy skills are able to access literacy programs at any grade level in their school careers. All students are also encouraged to participate in the Just Read home reading program.
Teaching students to read revolves around several dimensions. They include:
- Extensive reading at home and at school on a regular basis;
- Vocabulary Development focusing on developing a basic sight vocabulary from the students' listening-speaking vocabulary. Words are recognized in terms of their spelling (alphabet - recognition of letters and their sounds) and once a hundred or so words are learned, the phonetic and structural categories are available for study by the students;
- Phonetic and structural analysis of vocabulary including spelling. Students need to learn to classify words, seeking the phonetic and structural characteristics of words and seeing the language as comprehensible - understanding for example, that onsets and rhymes are predictable but not consistent.
- Extensive writing so students are able through their teacher or on their own express ideas through learned words and patterns;
- A focus on comprehension strategies once a student is able to read at a basic level. Students needs to learn through the modeling of the teacher.
- For Grade One students who are ready, a study of the craft of writing, including author's devices, sentence structure styles, mechanics, and text structures (fiction/non-fiction);
- Formative assessment to drive instruction, and;
- The study both by student and teachers of reading and how students acquire the skills to read.
- The overall approach used by Kindergarten and most Grade 1 teachers is the Picture-Word Inductive Model for which many resources are included in this website. Pictures, logs as well as teacher resources will be included as they become available.