Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Reading in the Wild - #cyberPD Part 2
Welcome back to week two of this year's #cyberPD event! My mind is still on fire from the amazing insights and reflections everyone linked last week on Cathy Mere's blog. If you are participating this week, be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post and insert your post using the InLinkz link. You'll be adding your own link instead of leaving it in the comments section. Comments really help to affirm ideas and push thinking in new directions, so please be sure to leave feedback on at least 3 posts from this week.
Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Other Readers
Sharing our books and our reading is one of the best parts of being wild readers, right? Even if our reading tribe doesn't share our exact book tastes, it's still so much fun to share titles and push each other to read titles we might otherwise skip.
As I was reading the beginning of the chapter, I realized that I still have work to do when it comes to fostering a home-school reading community with the families in my classroom. Yes, my parents know I love books, and their children certainly share tidbits with them. But as I continued rereading, I think I need to provide more information to parents about the kinds of reading we do in our classroom and how all reading is valued. Providing more insight to parents will help them understand and support the idea of "reading in the edges" as well.
We have a huge responsibility as the lead readers in our classrooms! In a recent conversation with Donalyn, she was saying that we'd never send our children to piano lessons from a teacher who didn't play piano. We wouldn't trust our children to learn from a coach who didn't practice and play the sport being taught. So how is it possible for non-readers to teach reading well? I feel the responsibility for knowing the books my kids are reading. I realize it might be impossible to read each and every book that becomes a part of my classroom library, but I make it my mission to read as many as I can. This helps me with conferring, building relationships, and becoming a member of the reading community in my classroom.
On page 107, Donalyn speaks about preserving the dust jackets from hardcover books. As silly as it may seem, I was concerned about this as I began curating my 4th grade library last year. I ended up with a great many hardcover books whose actual covers didn't provide a blurb about the book, so I wanted to make sure to keep those dust jackets. I took Donalyn's suggestion (actually, Katherine Sokolowski first brought it to me after she heard it from Donalyn) to have kids remove the jacket and store it in a basket while they had the book. Very simple, yet it worked beautifully!
After Donalyn tweeted about her "Reading Life" door last summer, I ran with it and used the idea on my classroom door. My plan is to share my summer reading again to kick off the school year. I'm looking forward to extending this idea and turning the door over to my kids, like Donalyn talks about on pages 116-119. I can't wait to see what they come up with!
"The anticipation of another great reading experience drives our continued enthusiasm and interest in reading." (p.136)
Wild Readers Have Reading Plans
After rereading The Book Whisperer last summer, I knew I wanted the 40 Book Challenge to become a central part of my 4th grade classroom. I structured it in a very open-ended way this year, but I was still able to use the challenge to have conversations with kids about their reading plans. Donalyn gives some outstanding suggestions in this chapter for ways to nudge students to read more widely! I plan to come back to these ideas as I'm meeting with my readers next year.
I first started really thinking about the power of series books when I read Beyond Leveled Books by Franki Sibberson, Karen Szymusiak, and Lisa Koch. At that time, I was teaching first grade but found that even my young readers loved reading books in a series. They felt a sense of accomplishment when they finished all of the Cork & Fuzz books or felt a sense of urgency when waiting for the next Heidi Heckelbeck book to be released. I found the same to be true with my 4th graders this year! Series books and favorite authors often have the power of hooking our reluctant readers. I shared many of the same experiences with series books that Donalyn mentions on page 151 - Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, V.C. Andrews. On page 152, I love how Donalyn suggests that kids who read an entire series of books then become epicenter readers for that series. Brilliant - and so true!
I'm still pondering the part of chapter 4 that deals with building our own personal reading canon. I have so many books that influenced (and changed) me. I hesitate to make a list for fear of leaving out an important one! One that I know without a doubt will be on my list is Harry Potter. Never in a million years did I think that would be true, but after reading the whole series for the first time this year, I know it belongs on my list.
The Conversation Continues
July 23 - chapter 5 & appendices at Michelle's Literacy Learning Zone
July 30 - 7 p.m. CST live Twitter chat with author Donalyn Miller
Instead of leaving it in the comments, please be sure to add your link using the blue button below so we can read your thoughts from this week's reading!