Children, just like adults, should always have goals in place that will make them work hard as they try their best at succeeding in life. Without goals, we tend to meander leisurely through the days without accomplishing as much as we should in school and life. Before long, if we are not careful, days have turned into weeks and months into years, and our dreams have slipped away.
With this in mind, students of all ages should always have a reading goal set for the year early on. After all, generally, the more we read, the more excellent our literacy skills grow. If we get them proceeding towards their reading goals from the beginning, the more growth the students will experience.
Here are steps for helping students set vital reading goals this school year.
Ask Their Input
Discussion is the key to success. Ask the students what they feel their reading goal should be for the year, and then state your thoughts on it. (They may think reading a novel a month is fine, while you may believe a book every three weeks.) By working together, put that goal on paper to constantly remind them. Something magical happens when a plan is written down on paper and continually stares you in the face.
Primary Students and Reading Fluency Goals
For students just learning how to read, fluency is a big issue. Most districts assess a student’s fluency at least three times a school year. After the first assessment is in place, discuss their fluency goals for the rest of the year. They should continue adding to their word per minute, reading with expression, and reading with accuracy as the months proceed. Educators have the opportunity to use a variety of educational programs to record running records with each of the students (and record their voices while reading).
Document the Progress
Whether you call it a journal or a diary, ask the students to document their progress towards their reading goal. Each book they read should complete some summary and their thoughts about it to show they are also meeting their reading comprehension goals. This can be achieved on paper, but bringing technology into the fold will usually excite most students. They can create slide presentations about the books or perhaps even short video reviews.
Recommend Books to Others
Have students recommend books to others and build upon that as the year proceeds. With so many books out there, it can be difficult for students to compile a complete reading list. For some odd reason, if a teacher or parent recommends a book to a child, they may ignore the advice completely. But if a friend or peer recommends a book to them, they will take the advice to heart.
Set a Reading Schedule
Sometimes life can keep you so busy that you hadn’t accomplished as many goals as you would have liked before you knew it. Have students create a schedule each week detailing how many hours they would like to read and when they are going to fit it into their days and nights. If they would like, since most students seem to have a phone on them nowadays, have them set alarms for when their reading time is to begin.
Revisit the Goals as Much as Needed
Rather than go on the honor system, talk with each student individually but just briefly, asking how they are doing at achieving their reading goal. Hopefully, this will be a habit that they will keep doing year after year! For some students, these talks may need to happen weekly, while others may require them once a month.
Need Some Help?
You don’t need to be a classroom teacher to set reading goals with children. You can be a parent, older sibling, or a friend that wants them to do better with their literacy skills.
If you want some guidance and a little assistance in getting the child on board with the goals, iAchieve can be your backup! We offer professional online and in-person tutors that can work with you to develop reading goals and make them a reality.