Reading is a participation sport! It can’t be emphasized enough that if we want children to become strong and capable readers, they have to actually READ – plain and simple. Think about it. If you wanted to get better at your favorite sport, how would you do it? First you would ensure that you had any equipment needed (books) and then you would make sure that you had time to practice (reading). If you wanted to get really good, you would probably also find someone who was good at this sport to keep you company (friends to talk about books with) and finally, you might also hire a coach (a good reading teacher) to help you improve your abilities. Researcher Anderson and colleagues reported that students in basal-dominated classrooms spent up to 70% of their reading instructional time completing worksheets. According to the research of Allington and many other reading experts, time actually spent reading is what correlates with higher reading competency. It seems logical that the more someone practices, the better they become at doing what it is that they have been practicing. Unfortunately, what seems logical is not always what happens in classrooms across the country. The research indicates that students perceived as “low” or struggling readers in many classrooms actually spent LESS time reading than did their better performing peers. What’s that all about? The greater the need, the more it stands to reason that those with the greatest need should be doing MORE reading – not less. Take the time to assess how much actual reading goes on in your class and find ways to increase it. Remember, reading is a participation sport which gets better with practice.