Monday, December 22, 2014

Reading in the Wild-2 things that changed in my classroom after I read this book.


I know.  Just like you, I was holding the book last Winter Break--shortly after it came out.  It was Screaming at me to read it.  And I did.  In two sittings.  And I may have squealed sounds of joy a bit while I was reading it.

Enter the Twitter chats, and the blog posts.  I'm pretty sure I read them all.
We loved it...yeah?  (Go ahead and fist pump here.  I just did.)

I'm a "Mull-er."  I will think, question, and process ideas for what seems like forever.  That being said, there are 2 strategies from Donalyn's book that have stuck with me since last year.  (The page numbers are places you can go in her book to read more about the actual strategy.  Don't have the book?  I'll wait while you hurry up and buy it!).

*Side note to help you understand me as an educator:  I know levels are important.  This isn't that post.  I follow a balanced literacy approach for my developing readers so I can differentiate and teach them what they need.*  :)

1.  Book Stacks. (page 137)

In first grade, we are learning that readers have plans and read A Lot!  Even at this young age, the book stacks have brought me closer to my stduents.  Here's what you might see:

  • If a reluctant reader is "stalling" or "fake reading", I might ask them what they are interested in.  If they say "trucks", I'm pulling every truck book I can find from my classroom and yours too.  I'll make a stack and let them choose which ones they want to read.  They can also physically see that there are more books to read, even if they don't take them all at that moment.  
  • If they tell me there is nothing to read in the library, I will pull stacks of picture books that I have used as read alouds.  (We have a beautiful library that has been curated by on of the best.)  Hashtags like #IMWAYR, #picturebookmonth. and #bookaday have helped me stay inspired to be looking for more to read.  Always.  
  • You want to read chapter books?  They are too hard?  You know that, you don't need me to announce that to you and the world. Instead, let me bring you some Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, Henry and Mudge, Fly Guy, Poppleton, etc.  Through book stacks, it has changed how I talk to students about choosing books they can access.  And they really do want to read what we recommend as teachers.  
  • It's important for me to note, that this has really preserved dignity in the classroom.  Everyone at some point is getting a stack from me.  It promotes community and reading.  There is a book for you here.  :)  
2.  Reading on the Edge.  (Page 11)

In Donalyn's book, she calls is Reading on the Edge.  In first grade, we call it "edge reading."  If you get done early?  Edge read.  If we are cleaning up/transitioning?  You might see some on the floor edge reading.  It's some of the most authentic reading that takes place during my day.  

Teaching this idea that you can make time for reading as resulted in--wait for it-- more reading. :)   They approach me in the morning--"I've done my calendar, can I edge read while I wait?"  (A secret--I have some that skip by the calendar work that they do as they are coming in during the morning bell time.  They go straight to reading.  Guess what?  I usually let them.)  In the afternoon, when there might be a science task to complete or 5 minutes before recess--"We'll edge read".  Here's what that looks like as we transition:

In the middle of this cluster?  A student who is reading to the others while we were transitioning to that back space.  What else am I going to do but stop and snap a photo of that?

If you walked in to my space, you might not notice these two shifts in reading.  But I have.  Students that might not have seen themselves as readers, know that I have books they can read.  They know that reading is for them.  Many more of my students will embrace reading now, because they know there is a book for them here.  


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