I visited Larry Ferlazzo's award, award, award, winning blog. He provided a treasure trove of sites to give his students practice in writing for an "Authentic Audience.". In working on creating a list for his students he shared generously with others. His criteria for these sites were that they be easy for students to write short pieces, and that they would find good models of other writings. In the comments, other teachers have also added to the list. Terrific!
Mr. Ferlazzo asks an important question in his latest blog: "What Should Should Teachers Be Doing During Student Voluntary Reading Time?" He provided links to an article and video discussing how interacting through conversation greatly improve student reading comprehension.
I am currently taking a reading foundations class, and our textbook supports this same practice. I was glad to have an opportunity to explore this further. I was blown away with the incredible amount of useful information that Mr. Ferlazzo had added between my previous visit and today. Wow! I put a bookmark on delicious because I need some time to spend with the links. I've included an excerpt and links from his post:
"In an article in the Journal of Educational Psychology, researchers found that teachers providing individual feedback to students during this kind of reading time was, by far, one of the most effective ways to help improve students’ reading ability. It primarily looked at students using their silent reading time to read class text (thought not exclusively), but it seems close enough to the basic ideas of Free Voluntary Reading that we should carefully consider what they found.
You can watch a video about the study, too, at Best Practices Weekly."