Building Lifelong Readers at Brown Intermediate

The days of mandating reading outside the classroom are long gone, but students are reading more than ever. At Brown Intermediate School, Grade 5 students are simply encouraged to read at home, making reading a choice rather than a chore.

Brown Grade 5 teacher Mr. Travis LaPointe said it is not affective to assign out-of-school reading, setting an exact number of minutes per night, and asking parents to monitor to make sure the task is done. Mr. LaPointe said that was evident to him when he was a student and is clear to him now at as a teacher.

“My goal and all of the teachers is to build lifelong reading habits and create lifelong readers and I just believe that when you tell someone that they have to do something, they won’t,” he said.

Instead, students are given a calendar at the start of each month and are asked to set a goal of how many minutes they will read per night. On average, Mr. LaPointe said he encourages students to start the year at 30 minutes per night, six nights a week and end the year at 45 minutes per night, six nights a week.

“They have their calendars and every single day they come in and the first thing that they do is they will fill in exactly how many minutes they read,” he said. “The thing about this is there is no reward and there is no consequence which is really important. They are not doing this for anything. There is no consequence so I really do believe that I am getting the honest and accurate number of minutes that someone is reading and that is confirmed when I meet with parents at our conferences.”

Mr. LaPointe said he regularly encourages students to keep building their reading habits and collects all the minutes to use as a tool to help students see how they can improve. 

“It’s pretty incredible what they do,” he said. “A majority of students are so self-motivated that this is all they need. The data really speaks for itself.”

Brown School's students are reading more and more every night

Mr. LaPointe said the positive coaching and giving students the power of choice with their reading is the most effective way to build good lifelong reading habits that will help students throughout their education. 

“There is no doubt that I have seen a direct correlation between student reading habits outside of class and individual student performance in class,” he said. “It impacts reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and empathy.  Each month, more and more students from our team are building/sustaining strong reading habits. Reading habits outside of the classroom are one of the biggest contributors to a student’s long-term success in the classroom and beyond.”  

Mr. LaPointe's Class


September 16 - October 13

Total: 14,637 minutes

Per Student: 552

Per Night: 24.9

October 15 - November 11

Total: 19,060 minutes

Per Student: 680

Per Night: 30.9

November 12 - December 9

Total: 21,832 minutes

Per Student: 780

Per Night: 35.4

January 6 - February 2

Total: 23,975 minutes

Per Student: 856.2

Per Night: 38.9

Ms. Bransfield's Class


September 16 - October 13

Total: 18, 542 minutes

Per Student: 662

Per Night: 30.1

October 15 - November 11

Total: 24,348 minutes

Per Student: 870

Per Night: 39.5

November 12 - December 9

Total: 28,939 minutes

Per Student: 1,034

Per Night: 47

January 6 - February 2

Total: 29,473 minutes

Per Student: 1053

Per Night: 47.9