- Writing for Edutopia, teacher Robert Ward shares how reading and analyzing a novel together as a class improves knowledge, builds a shared sense of community and can ignite a love of reading.
- Listening to a quality audiobook together as students follow along prevents the embarrassment of cold-reading aloud and allows students to hear proper reading modeled for them as the story comes alive.
- The process assures that all students participate in the reading process and also allows for student differentiation as they use different support structures to aid in understanding and in choosing passages to practice and then read-aloud.
The whole book approach can be one of the best ways to teach literary analysis and build reading comprehension skills. Just as a class on auto-mechanics does not make sense until students get their hands on an engine, many literary skills are made clearer when a novel is examined as a whole. The shared sense of community and the ability to bring each reader’s experience to bear on the content and issues are what makes book clubs thrive, and the same concept can increase student interest in reading.
The need to improve student literacy is apparent as literacy rates in the U.S. remain stagnant. According to a 2014 study by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institutes of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. — 14% — can’t read. An astounding 19% of high school graduates are functionally illiterate, as well. The need to improve reading skills has never been more important
One of the best ways to do so is by increasing the desire to read among teens. One way is by giving them tools that help them choose which books would interest them. And though it may seem counter-intuitive, encouraging the use of audiobooks can improve academics, as well. Improving reading skills benefits all subjects in the long run and places students on a path to success in the realm of academics and the "real world."