And We're Off!!
Today marks the beginning of our 4th annual #cyberPD event. Be sure to head over to Cathy Mere's post to link your post/reflection today. You can participate in the discussion by...
*sharing your blog post
*tweeting your ideas using #cyberPD
*comment on the weekly host blog
*being creative and finding a new way to share your thoughts
It will help grow the conversation and our learning if you'll check out other participants' posts and attempt to comment on a minimum of three.
"We are the lead readers in our classrooms
and model a reading life for students."
~Donalyn Miller (page xxvii)
I promised my fourth graders this year that no matter what, I would give them time to read at school each and every day. I made it my number one priority and kept that promise, even on the last day of school. If we want our students to make time for reading in their lives outside of school, we have to show them we value that time enough to keep it in our schedules regardless of what else is going on. No excuses - we will read every day. At the bottom of page 9, Donalyn talks about why reading time at school really matters. "They practice living like readers." Our kids deserve to know what it feels like to live "a readerly life" (love this phrase/idea from Tony Keefer!)
At the Nerd Camp keynote on Monday, Donalyn spoke about the idea of reading in the "edges." Readers carve out a few minutes here and there throughout their day, even if they can't set aside a chunk of time. We make time while we wait at the doctor's office, at our sister's soccer game, in the bathroom. In the book, I love how she talks to her students about finding reading these snippets of reading time and avoiding "book emergencies." We need to have these conversations with our kids! If the only time our students read is the time we give them in class, are we really creating wild readers?
"Reading a book in one sitting is a rare indulgence..." But how exciting to find those books that cause us to do it!! Just last weekend, I decided I'd read a few chapters of Hound Dog True before I got out of bed for my morning coffee. Two and a half hours later, I crawled out of bed after finishing the book! We know we've got wild readers in our classrooms when they find the books they just can't put down.
Being new to 4th grade, I'm consciously aware of the fact that I have a lot of learning to do. The ideas Donalyn shares about reading itineraries, response letters, and status of the class gave me a lot to ponder. Responding to reading and reflecting on reading are two areas I know I want to work on with my 4th grade readers in the upcoming school year. To add to the ideas I gained from Donalyn, I'm also reading a book Donalyn told me about, Janet Angelilli's Writing About Reading. I'm excited to see how it will grow my thinking even further!
I love, love, love the last paragraph on page 41. Core beliefs. Grounded in best practices. Reflective practice. Especially now with adding more and more technology into our classrooms, I feel we need to know ourselves as educators and ground ourselves in what we believe in. This was a big conversation at this week's Nerd Camp - one that we need to continue to ponder and discuss.
|I spotted this Wild Reader on a beach in Maine!|
Wild Readers Self-Select Reading Material
Choice is absolutely key. I cannot imagine only being able to read what someone else tells me to read. A couple weeks ago, Leah Whitford tweeted this during a #satchat conversation: "If choice weren't so important to us, we wouldn't have menus in restaurants." Donalyn makes some powerful points on the bottom of page 46 that support the importance of self-selected reading material. Yes, our readers need to have strategies and reasons for picking their books, just like we do. Teaching students about "good fit" books will help in their decision making process, but ultimately, I believe that each reader has to be able to make the choice.
Reading aloud to students has so many benefits that we have to make sure this is not something that we push aside in order to "cover more" during our day. Read alouds are such a great way to bring our reading community closer together! I guarantee that my 4th graders from this past year will continue to talk about the day we read Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant. Even though I read it before I read it to my kids, I got to one point in the story... paused... and the big, nasty, sobbing, can't-catch-your-breath tears started. I tried to pull myself together but ended up handing the book over to a student to finish reading for me. We were a stronger community after that day!
One of my favorite parts of this chapter is the idea of "Five Authors My Students Should Know" (from page 51.) From my days in first grade, my list would probably include...
Being relatively new to fourth grade, I am still building my list of authors. One that I know for sure is Liesl Shurtliff (author of Rump.) Have you thought about which authors would make your list?
Curating a classroom library is a topic that is near and dear to my heart! I spent years curating a library of over 3,000 books for my first graders. Now, I have the exciting job of curating a library for my 4th grade readers! My Nerdy friends have been very generous in donating books to me to help with this process. I'm definitely going back to this section of the book as I continue to seek out new titles. In just one year, our classroom library has over 600 titles. My kids have been really helpful in teaching me about what 4th grade girl and boy readers enjoy!
The Conversation Continues...
July 16 - chapters 3 & 4 link up here at Ruminate and Invigorate
July 23 - chapter 5 & appendices at Michelle's Literacy Learning Zone
July 30 - 7 p.m. Live Twitter chat with author Donalyn Miller!