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Thursday, October 26, 2017

#growthmindset and Independent Reading

One of the cornerstones of a school library is actively supporting the independent reading or wider reading programs. Every school has their blend of strategies in this area, ranging from structured lessons, assessment tasks, challenges to wider reading afternoons.

Recently, I was listening to the TER Podcast and interview with Carol Dweck about Growth Mindset and the role of schools. Having a growth mindset means that it is "ok" to give up on something.

I wondered at how this related to our wider reading strategies in our schools.

Over the years I have heard many school librarians pressure students to finish a book. "You can't give up", they say and then students just "pretend read" or slowly read rather than get engaged with the book. Strategies of three chapters or 100 pages might work for some students, but most will give up if the topic of the book isn't speaking to them.

They don't define themselves as readers ... yet.

Carol Dweck "The Power of Yet"

The growth comes from the realisation that it is ok to say "this book isn't really working for me" and students should be able to change course.  The student should be encouraged to confidently articulate why the book isn't working for them. It is then that a Teacher Librarian with an in depth knowledge of both the collection and the curriculum can assist them in finding a book that will work for them.

Students come into the school library or Learning Commons with distinct views about reading. They either define themselves as "a reader" or not. Those students that sit on the fence normally justify their answer with a "it depends on the book" and the reality is that this is true for most of us.

The strength of a teacher librarian is being able to guide the student to a book that they might be interested in reading. Using careful questioning to ensure that reading is a positive experience even though they don't see themselves as a reader  ... yet.

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