A couple weeks back I posted this question to my fourth grade students as a way to get them thinking about their own reading habits: "What do good readers do?" I wrote it on a white board easel and left it up for a week. Kids covered it with ideas!
"Good readers look at the pictures because they sometimes help them figure out what's going on in the story."
"Good readers use the five finger rule (to help them pick out a book)."
"Good readers use context clues."
"They chose an interesting book, not a boring one."
"Good readers make predictions."
I was so happy to see how many things they came up with. (I forgave the spelling, as you may see.) Their ideas ranged from picking out a book and prereading strategies to comprehension and word attack skills. It was a great opportunity for me to see that the students really are listening to us teachers!
After the week was up, we took some time to go over all their ideas and discuss them. I was so pleased to have such a lively conversation about reading with my students. Because their ideas drove the discussion, they were excited to talk about what they had added to the board. My hope is to revisit this activity again in a month or so and see what other things they can think of.
So what was the moral of the story? For me, it was a reminder that students need to both show what they know and take ownership of their own learning. I didn't give them a list of what good readers do, they came up with it themselves. That will make a much bigger impression in the long run.