Reading stamina refers to a student’s ability to focus on reading for a certain number of minutes, which should increase as they grow older. Students at Flagship are encouraged to increase their reading by one minute each day. Kindergarten and first grade students work to read for a total of five minutes straight. Older elementary students have a goal of 30 uninterrupted minutes.
“To help improve reading stamina it is important for students to have something they want to read,” Brophy said. “Besides a book, it could be a magazine article or a catalog. Allowing students to sit wherever they want in the classroom also encourages reading stamina, whether it be in a corner, on a milk crate, or under a desk.”
Brophy said in younger grades, increasing this stamina helps students with their ability to concentrate on one thing for longer periods. In higher grades it helps prepare students for the focus they need in standardized and state testing. It’s also helped Flagship outperform the local district for the past nine years.
“Teachers who are implementing Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) time regularly see an increase in reading stamina for their students, and it also helps their students become better readers,” Brophy said. “As our younger students are learning to read, the practice helps reading to become more automatic and fluent. For older readers, the practice helps with comprehension.”
Key things to look for when students are reading is the attention paid to the page. When a child has their eyes on the text, is pointing out words, staying in one spot, and reading quietly, they are increasing their reading stamina. If they’re skipping pages, looking around or talking, that’s when they’re straying off course, Brophy said.
“We have implemented D.E.A.R. time at the end of the day to help increase student endurance for reading,” Brophy said. “The end of the day is a good time because students are winding down and getting ready to go home. It helps to create a peaceful transition for dismissal.”
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Flagship Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Detroit, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes 99 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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