A few years ago, I launched an independent reading program as part of my curriculum. Influenced by research by Stephen Krashen and books by Nancie Atwell, Donalyn Miller, and Kelly Gallagher, I built a classroom library of 500+ titles and encouraged my students to read books they liked.
For the most part, the experiment worked. Reading went up, and my students started to say they liked to read. But not all students felt the same way. To them, no matter what I tried, reading was boring. Many said they couldn’t remember the last book they finished. I needed to reach these students, too.
One day, likely out of exasperation, I lent a student my Kindle Keyboard, told him how to change the font size and set up text-to-speech, and let him go. He read. He couldn’t contain himself. “This is so much better!” he exclaimed. At the end of class, he asked whether he could take my Kindle home for the weekend. I said yes. The next Monday, he’d finished Monster, his first book of the year.