Why Authentic Active Engagement Should Be Part of EVERY Reading Lesson

Updated: Apr 28


Authentic active engagement is NOT shading in circles on a worksheet. OR, completing assigned lessons on a website that advertises a guarantee to raise test scores.


Active engagement is motivating students to engage in their reading work for authentic purposes that will help them grow as a reader and a learner.

Authentic active engagement means that we must nudge our readers to have a go at trying out the new skill or strategy within their own reading.

**Clicking A B C or D on a webpage ain’t gonna do it!

**Circling the right letter on a multiple-choice question ain’t gonna do it!

**Regurgitating literal details from a text ain’t gonna do it!


Authentic active engagement means giving young readers a chance to "try it out" with your encouragement and guidance when they are learning about using a new strategy or skill within their reading.

Active engagement means giving readers time to make mistakes.


Active engagement means giving your readers something they can work with--breaking reading strategies and skills into smaller manageable chunks so readers can see how it all fits together and connects with prior learning.


But how? The reading process is SO complex!

Readers must be actively engaged in the reading process to see how all the pieces connect and work together.

Readers need to know HOW to interact with a text. They need to see how proficient readers navigate the reading process to make meaning and build comprehension of a text they are reading.


Readers need opportunities to practice with the teacher, with partners and by themselves.


Readers need comprehension strategies broken down into more manageable pieces that they can connect together to help develop their understanding of how the reading process works.


Authentic Active Engagement Is...

Authentic active engagement is about creating multiple opportunities for readers to interact with a text with the teacher, with partners and by themselves.


Authentic active engagement is about finding a variety of opportunities for readers to engage in conversations and discussions about a text.


Authentic active engagement is about finding opportunities for readers to engage in reflective thinking about a text.


Authentic active engagement is about finding opportunities for readers to try out a reading strategy or skill with guidance.


Authentic active engagement has its place within the reading minilesson as well as during independent reading.


What does authentic active engagement look like in a reading lesson?

Readers could be expected to actively engage by trying out the minilesson strategy or skill in their self-selected reading.


Readers who are stopping, noticing their inner conversation and reacting to the text are actively engaged in the reading process.


Readers could be expected to stop and jot using the new strategy or skill on a post-it note or index card.


Readers could be expected to try the strategy out while using the ultimate literacy tool--the Readers' Notebook. This notebook should contain all the tips, tricks, minilessons, tools and the readers' own strategy and skill work.


Readers could be expected to turn and talk with a partner to make a plan about how they will use the new strategy or skill within their own independent reading.


Readers could be expected to try out a new literacy tool designed to support the strategy or skill they are learning. During the minilesson, this tool could be used together as a group or with a reading partner before being expected to use it during independent reading.



Until next time,

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