What my students say

about the benefits of Independent Reading

2004-05, Grades 7 and 8

Most of these students do not speak English as their mother-tongue. They are not ESL students, but their experience and proficiency in English vary widely.

•I have always read books, and I've always liked reading, but I have never read this many books before. I have noticed that after this one year of independent reading, I can read much faster than what I used to, and now I have also read a lot of different kinds of books. I like reading a lot more now.

•When I was in Malaysia I never read many English books, but now I find reading English books as interesting as Play Station 2! My English improved a lot by reading. I learned more new words, and I love English better than other subjects now.

•I think I've read a million more books this year, compared to last year. I used to be like totally freaked out if I had to read an English novel. Overall, I am really glad that I can read so many novels, and enjoy them, that's the point. I even decided to borrow some books from my friends and read them in the summer for no credits or anything, because I guess it's really a great leisure activity for me now. Thanks so much to Mr. MacKnight to help me set up this habit!

•After quite a long time, I developed the habit of reading every night before I sleep.

•I'm more interested in reading books now. I have read different genres of books.

•As the year went by I got faster and better at writing journal entries. Also, I tended to read thicker books to gain more credit. I'm not sure if that is good or bad.

•I'm improving my English by reading English novels, because before I was reading Korean novels, so my English was bad.

•Writing about the books was hard at the beginning but now at the end, I believe it's easier for me. But I still need to concentrate a lot.

•I used to read before I even started Independent Reading, but now it's even better because I am reading as well as getting credit for it. Throughout the year my reading skills have slowly improved. At the beginnning of the year I used to read books of about 200 pages. By the end of the year I have started reading books about 800+ pages long. I also don't read many children's books anymore, as now I mostly read adult books.

•I did not think that I would read this many books, but I did.

•Independent Reading was a good opportunity for me to read more and learn more about different kinds of books. I was really happy to do it and I really enjoyed it very much.

•In the past, I didn't really like reading books and I didn't have courses where I had to read books. But the following year, Mr. MacKnight chose good books for me to try to get me to read more. By reading books that had won awards, I started to read more and enjoy reading.

•I got a low grade for English last semester because I didn't read much. But now I think I made some improvements and I learned how to write better summaries this semester. I changed as a reader by reading fantastic books. People gave me ideas about good books to read.

•My reading speed improved, too. Before, I read really slowly, and if I tried to read books fast, I didn't really understand the story.

•My reading speed became faster and my understanding improved. I really think it's good for us to write journal entries. It's good for us to think about the story again, or tell others that this is a good book, and tell others a little bit of the summary of the story. I really liked Independent Reading this year.

•I have gotten quite in the habit of reading every day.

•I have learneed to enjoy reading a lot more. Last year, and in the past years, I did not enjoy reading at all. This year, since reading was worth so much of my grade, I started reading more. As I read more and more I started to enjoy it more.

•I think this long exercise of independent reading really helps me a lot to improve my reading and writing skills. Reading is a kind of thing I call relaxing. Every day when it's time to sleep, I always get a book and plop on my bed and read. I do that every day, just like eating.

•I have now found out that reading is quite fun and useful. In the past, my parents kept on asking me to read more books, but I refused, as I was not keen on reading books. I wished that I could have started independent reading earlier, as it could improve my English writing. I have changed my attitude towards reading.

•This 'Independent Reading' thing has really helped me—a great deal. Last year, I used to just read only books that attracted me . . . . But now, I try harder books and thicker ones, too. Secondly, I find that I read more . . . . I guess it put some pressure on me, since marks were counted. Thirdly, I realized, after a few months, that I had a bad habit of not writing the journal right after reading a book, like what I'm supposed to be doing. Instead, I write about five books' journals, and hand it in. In the end, I had no choice but to set this problem as my goal in English class, and surprisingly enough, it worked! Fourthly, I find that I read very little during the weekdays and about five times more during the weekend. I've got to try to even it out by reading more during weekdays.

•I've always disliked reading since I was small, but before I started Independent Reading this year. I've never tried monitoring how many pages I read per day, or writing personal responses after reading a book. I guess I just read whenever I felt like it, e.g., ten minutes before breakfast, etc. So now, with my experience of Independent Reading for almost a year, I don't think the amount of reading has increased any more than it used to be, but I'm more "focused" now. I mean, in the past, I did not give a thought about a book after I was done with it (unless, of course, it's a really touching one that makes me cry), but now, I think more about the plot, the style, etc. That's probably because I have to write a response to it (our Independent Reading Journal). And, my taste in reading has also changed. I read more classics nowadays.

•Independent Reading has been a positive experience for me. I was supposed to read every day, but at the beginning of the year I was so overloaded with homework most of the time. So, I read mostly on the weekends. When I finally started getting less homework, I started using MSN. That was a problem too. I made myself read before I used MSN. No reading, no MSN. Last but not least, I didn't write in my journal right after I finished a book. I waited until I read three or four books, then wrote in the journal. I don't think my taste in reading has changed. I used to and still do read adventure books, but this year I read a few other kinds, like mysteries (The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore) and drama (The Pearl). In spite of all the problems I had, I still think I achieved a few things. I read everyday (towards the end of the year) tried a few different books. Just goes to show, Independent Reading can have a lot of influence!

•Independent Reading has been a positive experience for me because I like reading, and this was just an excuse to my mother so I would be able to read more than I normally do.

•Independent Reading helps us to have better writing skills and it gives us the habit of reading every day.

•Since I started Independent Reading, I realise each essay I wrote is better than the one before. I also learned mountains of new words. Before I came to this school, I never read independently at home before. Now I read for 15 minutes every day. Sometimes I play Runescape too much and forget to read, so I solved this by asking my parents to remind me to read.

•This year I started to read nearly every day. I like Independent Reading because it's our only homework for English. Also, I have read a lot of interesting books, and found two authors that I really like. My speed of reading has improved and now I have the habit of reading. During the holidays I had a lot of spare time at home so I read like . . . every day. During that time I read at least one book a week and I found reading books very interesting. Another good thing when I was reading is that it helps me sleep at night, because when I read I become very sleepy and I fall asleep.