By now, most school districts have given their pre assessments to determine proper placement in core subjects. Using this data is key to instructing students at their level. In grades K-3 students are learning read. Once they have learned fundamental reading skills, students then are reading to learn. The sky's the limit when it comes to what students want to learn. Some students may be timid to express what they actually want to learn about. Over time, if given guidance and opportunity a new world is open up to them. Here are some suggestions to help your students become ready to learn.
Small group instruction- In lower grade level this is common practice. However, this idea is valuable for all levels of instructions. Students receive more individual attention on their level. Whole group instructions is not always what's best for kids.
Provide a variety of materials- Just because a student doesn't like fiction, doesn't mean they don't like to read. Nonfiction can be used to help develop foundational reading skills as well. Allow students to read nonfiction for fun! Yes, I said for fun. Students should be able to read what they would like during free reading time. Not everyone likes the same things so why force them to read the same thing.
Give students time to reflect-Reading and writing go hand in hand. Have students keep a journal so they can summarize what they have read. Allow them to ask questions about what they have read. Becoming critical thinkers is a valuable skill that develops over time.
Read to your students- Students need to hear how reading sounds. Set aside a few minutes a day to read to your students. This doesn't mean you read an entire novel with your class, for upper grades. Why not use a paragraph or two from a novel to introduce a new concept to your class?
Time- Not all learners progress at the same rate. However, if given time students will become proficient in content. Also, give time for your students to connect with a book of their choice.
As you become more comfortable with these ideas, students will become confident in their skills as well. By developing a nurturing environment with an attitude that all students can learn, students are well on their way to discovering what they want to learn.