Classroom Management: Deep Reading vs. Light Reading

Not all reading is created equal, we learn in today’s centerpiece article on Although kids read lots every day, be it texts, video game instructions, or even electronic device instructional materials, how does that compare to the classic reading material supplied by the likes of Plato, Shakespeare, and Hawthorne?

In a true “Think piece,” frequent contributing writer Jordan Catapano, who is a seasoned high school English teacher based in the Chicago suburbs, takes a look at how and why we can get students to “Deep read.”

Jordan spells out the differences between deep and light reading:

Deep reading -- offers complex language, and sophisticated information embedded within that language. It makes us read slowly and concentrate on what is being communicated.

Light reading -- lacks genuine voice, meaning, and thought.

Jordan sums up his article in this fashion: “We should help our students love reading, but we should also help them love growing as well. This means that our approach to teaching reading takes on two distinct elements. At times we should encourage students to find something – anything – they enjoy reading and make time to read it. There are distinct advantages to pleasure reading we should not discount. At the same time, we should lead students to texts that – although they might have selected for themselves – will help them engage in the complex cognitive tasks that offer long term strength to their minds. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist and philosopher, once said, “I cannot remember the books that I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” The saying “You are what you eat” is true, but we also want to teach our students “You are what you read” as well.”

How do you use classroom management to help your students engage in deep reading and light reading? How do you talk to them about different reading tasks? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section!