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Why Student Voice and Choice Matter

I love to read.

Yep. I have a book problem. It’s my one vice in life. I think I might even need intervention. While I love my Kindle, there’s nothing like the smell of a new book, fresh from the printer.

When I was a ‘tween, my favorite thing to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon was to get a Snicker bar, a pack of Bubblicious Grape Bubble Gum and a Nancy Drew book and lose myself with Nancy, Bess and George for an entire afternoon. While my snacks and literature choices have changed since those early years, one thing remains the same— I LOVE to read—until recently.

I discovered an occasion when I DON”T love to read.

I am currently enrolled in an intensive study program which requires many hours of reading. When I enrolled in my class, I did not give the weekly reading requirement a second glance. Piece of cake. I hit the ground reading.

Lately, I noticed something different about my reading routine and habits. I’ve been rushing. I’ve been counting pages. I’ve been closing the book and measuri

Books 2

ng my progress. I’ve been acting like a fifth grader who doesn’t like to read.


I love to read … but not when someone is forcing me. Not when I’m on a deadline. Not when I have no choice. It’s no longer intrinsic motivation that’s driving me, it’s extrinsic motivation that’s hounding me. Reading is no longer about love,  but requirement.

Voice and choice.

They matter. They matter to grown ups and they matter to students. So forget the points, the pizzas, the prizes and the candy.  Forget the lexiles, and the levels, and the standards.  At some point during the school day, give your students voice and choice.

Just let them read books.


What do you think about student voice and choice? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to chat with you!

By Mary Kane

All rights reserved. Copyright 2016.




A Christian woman who wants to make a difference in the world.

6 thoughts on “Why Student Voice and Choice Matter

  1. So, this means that in the midst of all the have-to reading they must do throughout the day, that you work time into the school schedule that lets them read what they want for the JOY of it. In this way, reading doesn’t get stuck with just a bad connotation. Is that correct?


  2. You got it! We need to remember student voice and choice matter! It helps to alleviate the “i hate to read syndrome.” We must remember to allow sports journals, technical reading, and poetry in our reading resources for our students. Thank you for your comment!


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