02 September 2018

How to Teach Students to Build Reading Stamina

Creating an environment where students are able to read independently for any given length of time, is important for more reasons that just to get students reading, but why?
Why is Building Reading Stamina Important?
  • Creates and fosters student independence
  • Gives students a chance to practice reading strategies learned during mini-lessons
  • Allows for uninterrupted time for small groups, guided reading, strategy groups, and one-on-one student conferences
What is stamina?
  • Stamina means being able to do anything for a long time without getting tired or quitting
Day 1: Launching Independent Reading
  1. Teach students the word, "Stamina"
    • Use an analogy to sports/video games/reading/writing
    • Explain that like any coach, my job is to make sure we're practicing the correct way
    • Think about a student learning to swim, bat, or kick or pitch a ball - if a coach sees someone practicing incorrectly he is going to correct the player immediately. The coach isn't going to let someone continuously practice wrong. 
    • As the teacher, you want a student's muscle memory for reading to be correct
  2. Create a T-chart 
  3. Explain that teachers can't do their jobs until students have built their reading stamina to 20 minutes at least 3x in a row
  4. Place students in spots around the room (this should take less than 2 minutes), and tell students not to begin reading yet
    • students always have the option to sit at their desks
  5. Once everyone is in place, say, "Ready? Read!" and begin the timer
  6. Stand in a corner of the room where everyone is visible, but do not move around the room - using proximity will not work for reading stamina (remember, you'll eventually be working with students and not able to walk around redirecting students)
  7. Stop the timer for (use teacher discretion though):
    • not reading
    • talking
    • getting up
    • eyes wandering
  8. Students should return to their desks, and give feedback about why the timer was stopped
  9. Graph student time - the chart below can be found HERE or by clicking the picture below
  10. Depending on length of that session, do another session right away to allow students to correct their mistake
    • Students can go back to their same spot which will help them practice transitioning quickly
Day 2  through Independence:
  1. Review the word, "Stamina"
  2. Review the T-chart
  3. Repeat steps from above
    1. Walk to the different reading spots in the room, and instead of assigning, ask for volunteers for that spot, and quickly place students
Important Notes:
  • After the first 3-4 days (use your discretion), I move to my small group table so that students get used to me being where I'll be when I start working with students
  • Giving feedback after each stamina-building session is important
  • Graphing class progress is crucial for students to be excited about building reading stamina, and to encourage longer reading each time
Reading Spots/Book Nooks:

I tell students from day 1, that eventually, we need to be in our reading spots ready to read in 10 seconds or less. It takes longer at first, but eventually, transitions speed up.
  • Day 1 - Place students in spots around the room (this should take less than 2 minutes)
  • Day 2 - Ask for volunteers for spots around the room
  • Day 3 - Ask for volunteers for spots around the room
  • Day 4 - Call groups (I call team numbers) of students (4-6) at a time
  • Day 5 - Call groups (I call team numbers) of students (4-6) at a time
  • Day 6-8ish - Call 2 groups at a time
  • Day 9-10ish - Call 3 groups at a time (or about half the class)
  • Day 11-12ish - Dismiss the class to reading spots
Once we've built our reading stamina to 20 minutes at least 3 consecutive times, I'm reading to start pulling students for individual reading assessments, and then guided reading groups.

Remember that every class will build stamina at a different rate. I've had our first stamina session last only 9 seconds - NINE.SECONDS! Even the youngest, wiggliest, most reluctant readers can learn to build their reading stamina. 

It seems like it takes forever, and you'll feel like you're wasting time, but I PROMISE it is worth it. Stay with it. Don't give up.
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1 comment

  1. Hi, thanks for share this such a beautiful blog with us, yeah sure it will help for kids study improvement. I will also share with my friends circle.

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