Does Johnny’s Reading Teacher Love to Read? How Teachers’ Personal Reading Habits Affect Instructional Practices (McKool & Gespass, 2009) investigates the relationship between teachers’ personal reading habits and their instructional practice. A study was conducted using sixty-five elementary school teachers to further investigate this relationship by having them respond to a questionnaire which embedded questions related to leisure time reading. The results of the study showed that teachers reports that they spent an average of 24 minutes per day reading for pleasure. 41% reported less tan 10 minutes of reading per day, and 63% of those reported not pleasure reading at all. In the entire study, only 7 teachers (11%) reported more than 45 minutes of pleasure reading per day. These results should be very alarming, but they are not. Who has time to read leisurely when there are papers to grade, lessons to plan, laundry to fold, dishes to wash, children to take to sporting events, and anything else that must take priority in your life over leisure reading?!
The results also found that 47% of teachers used instructional practices associated with extrinsic motivation (rewards), but a teacher who values reading should use both intrinsic (discussing and recommending good books) and extrinsic motivation. The instructional strategies that teachers used most frequently were sustained silent reading and asking oral comprehension questions. Teachers were asked to report which three literacy instructional strategies that they value and used regularly in their classrooms, and numerous results were reported. The three most valued instructional strategies were teaching comprehension strategies (48% ), guided reading groups (37%), and reading aloud to their students (28%). A teacher who valued reading, was more likely to use the best literacy practices. The results of this study indicate that personal reading habits affects instructional practices.
The Reading Habits and Literacy Attitudes of Inservice and Prospective Teachers (2008) describes a questionnaire survey of 747 students enrolled in a graduate school of education, who are currently teachers or prospective teachers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the fit between curricula and practices. The results of the study showed that aliteracy, the ability to read but a disinterest in personal reading, was a growing problem. Graduate students value the importance of reading, but they do not invest their time into personal reading.
Teachers are role models for students, and it is very important that we have a passion for reading, and I think for education in general. I may not be an avid reader, but I know the power of reading, and I am a witness to how something as simple as reading can provide you with an opportunity to change the cycle of life that a family has always fallen into. So, no, I wouldn’t say that I am a passionate reader, but I am a passionate educator. I want kids to love reading, but I want them to love math, science, social studies, and all the other aspects of school as well. Do I think that my students can tell I don’t go home and read every night? No! Because I introduce and read every book with excitement and expression, just like it’s the first time I’ve laid eyes on the book. This may be harder to do if I were in a higher grade, but it’s pretty easy to do with children’s stories because I LOVE them! When I finish Grad School in May, my goal is to spend more time reading leisurely. (This won’t be that hard to do since I haven’t been reading at all!) 😀 Honestly, I do feel that having a personal reading relationship yourself makes it more natural to do in school, which would affect your practice. However, I do not think that I use poor practices in class due to my lack of personal reading habit.
MCKOOL, S. S., & GESPASS, S. (2009). Does Johnny’s Reading Teacher Love to Read? How Teachers’ Personal Reading Habits Affect Instructional Practices. Literacy Research & Instruction, 483), 264
Nathanson, S., Pruslow, J., & Levitt, R. (2008). The Reading Habits and Literacy Attitudes of Inservice and Prospective Teachers. Journal Of Teacher Education, 59(4), 313-321.