The following blog post by author, Peter Johnston, was originally published on July 23, 2012. To view Peter's most recent publication in collaboration with several colleagues, go to Engaging Literate Minds on the Stenhouse website.
Powerful instruction — powerful engagement
What would happen if, rather than focusing on teaching reading strategies, we focused instead on getting students engaged? I can tell you what happened in four eighth-grade classrooms. At the beginning of the year, the teachers simply introduced their students to a range of edgy young adult fiction and told them to read what they liked, no strings attached—no book reports, comprehension questions, or other controlling strategies, and less teaching in front of the class—but there were only one to three copies of each book.