For the past three years, Dr. Ivey has been involved with a project at a Virginia school in which 300 Grade 8 English students were allowed full choice over their reading with few strings or work attached, other than classroom discussions about shared themes and small group conversations if several students had read the same book. The goal was to get every student engaged in reading - the kind that you do in your own free time.
"It's [about]the experience we have all had as adults when we forget to eat or go to the restroom because we are so into what we are reading," Dr. Ivey says. "And that so rarely happens in school, and it certainly hardly ever happens with the whole-class-assigned novel."
The results, she says, have been overwhelming. "We couldn't keep up with the need for books," she says. Even in classes with struggling readers, students read an average of 42 books over the course of the school years, some as many as 100. And even with their options open, students didn't stick with Twilight and Gossip Girl series for long - as their appetite for reading grew, so did their interest in more challenging reads, coming to class for example to debate the ending of Walking on Glass by science fiction writer Iain Banks.http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/letting-students-choose-books-could-make-them-better-readers/article570697/