It is not possible to raise academic achievement unless students read and write more. Much more. An hour a day, 10 books a year. At least.
Independent reading isn't the frosting on the cake; it's the cake! If students don't read independently, they will never read proficiently.
Important to keep up with new books for students but maybe even more essential for teachers to continue to challenge themselves as readers.
Have you ever finished reading a great book and then said to yourself, "I think I'll write a 5-paragraph essay"? Me neither.