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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Wyoming Teacher Policy Institute
Eric Kay, Hot Springs Middle School, Thermopolis, WY

I am looking at reading programs, specifically the one I currently use in my classroom, and what motivates students to read for pleasure. I feel, especially as an English teacher, that kids need to have time to free read quality material that interests them. Students are very busy with their other schoolwork, so I want to provide time for them in class to read. They are not permitted to read comic books or catalogs, (I want sentences!) but are permitted to read magazines. I am also looking into other "motivational" reading programs.

This year I am teaching Freshmen English for the first time. Because of this, I have the same students this year that I taught last year as 8th graders. This has allowed me to start a new program and take a concentrated look at what my students gained from the program that I've done in the past with the 8th grade.

To do this, I have polled my students on what they gained from my program last year. I have also taken a more involved approach to my students' free reading, structuring in questionnaire-type worksheets that help students explain and critically explore the material they are reading so that they can discuss it in a large group setting.

We are on the block schedule so I have a new group this term (since Christmas). I have crunched the numbers from 1st term. I have also "tweaked" the questionnaires so that I can get a little bit more information. I have continued to look into more and different reading programs to just gain as much insight into motivating readers as I can. Now that I have the numbers from 1st term crunched, I need to examine those numbers and see where they lead me.


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