The Power of Choice

By Abel Lopez

This post was written by a student in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature.

What if students only read books that interested them?  What if students were given the power of choice when deciding what to read in class regardless of the subject matter?  Would there be total chaos in the classroom or does the power of choice give the struggling reader a chance to be heard? 

In the past few months, I have been conducting a qualitative single-subject case study exploring the impact of reading strategies on comprehension and have observed how the power of choice positively impacted a struggling reader’s self-esteem and reading confidence.  A once shy and quiet young boy took a risk and used the information absorbed from the text (that he chose to read) and created a small video outlining his newly gained knowledge.  He also, later in the study, requested that I check out more books for him to read at home.  The power of choosing authentic literature to read will empower the struggling reader to take charge of their reading careers!

Allowing students the opportunity to choose what type of literature to read will foster a classroom where literature is valued and discussed.  A classroom where everyone’s opinion matters and is heard.  A classroom where literature circles, literature journals, and literature letters fill the room with debates, discussions, and personal connections made by reading literature that deals with issues associated with them, the reader, the person!  Taking ownership of what literature to read can also motivate a struggling reader to create their very own literature blog and share what their interests are or what issues they are dealing with in the lives.

Click on the following like to view my research subject’s literature blog in progress:  http://chubbysland1.wordpress.com/

 The power of choice allows students the opportunity to select literature that allows them to make connections with characters, issues, or subject matter affecting them. Through student responses, students use creative talents such as art, music, dance, writing, singing, or any other talent as a medium to share personal connections. 

 The power of choice allows for literature to foster inquiry in the reader, inquiry that can guide independent reading and research.  Inquiry fostered by literature may guide a student to seek the help of an expert or request a research trip to a coastal studies lab to interview a marine biologist after they’ve read literature stories dealing with sharks.  Literature guides independent reading, inquiry, and confidence in a reader. 

As you begin to plan your literature classroom this year, remember to ask yourself, “Who are my students and what do they want to read?”  It may just remind you of why you became a teacher.

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