Americans today are reading less. The National Endowment for the Arts reported that less than one-third of 13-year-olds read daily and 19 percent of 17-year-olds are non-readers. Even those that do read, the report suggests, aren’t reading as well. Reading scores among students today have declined. While employers report the increasing importance of reading as a basic skill, many graduates today fall short.

Longtime middelschool educator, Sarah Collinge, recently published Raising the Standards Through Chapter Books: The C.I.A Approach, which outlines effective ways to improve students’ reading skills and growth. Raising the Standards Through Chapter Books equips educators with classroom routines, effective reading models, student conferences, and goal-setting activities to foster avid readers in the classroom.

Collinge beautifully integrates her personal experience and professional knowledge to deliver anecdotal reports of best practices around effective reading strategies and models. It’s evident that her students benefit from the C.I.A. Model, developing into independent and confident readers.

How to Engage Students In Reading

Collinge reports that one of her greatest hurdles is helping students remain engaged and motivated when reading a book. While we’re entering a digital era where students are accustomed to reading short snippets of information on their smartphones and tablets, we find that reading is still a highly important skill to students’ personal and professional success. Collinge’s approach to reading and literacy will help students meet the new Common Core Standards, which calls for increased text complexities.

Collinge coined the C.I.A Model or Approach, which helps students collect, interpret, and apply their reading. The model, which is intended to build learning along Bloom’s Taxonomy ladder, helps students approach the reading as if it’s a puzzle in order to overcome the overwhelm of reading texts above their reading level.

Collinge’s approach helps educators work with students to effectively pick texts suitable to their reading level while still challenging enough to advocate growth. Her model goes beyond simple character, setting, and plot analyses to critical thinking, problem solving, and synthesis of new knowledge – all effective 21st century skills.

Integrate the C.I.A. Approach With Today’s Apps & Technologies

The C.I.A. Approach could be easily coupled with reading applications to monitor progress, such as:

  • Accelerated Reader, which helps students track reading goals and quiz reading comprehension
  • Reading Progress, which tracks bookmarks, past books and more; and
  • ReadMore, which helps students log books and motivate increased reading time.
What’s more, apps like the Amazon Kindle App can give students access to their reading homework on just about any device while allowing them to take notes, highlight sections, look up words, and even access Book Extras by Shelfari. Integrating some of the newest apps for reading with Collinge’s C.I.A. Approach can make literacy learning an engaging, enjoyable, and effective experience for students.

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