Labor Day weekend has come and gone. All schools are in session. Some have been for a week or so. Others have over a month in. It’s that time of transitions. No more “wearing white”. Getting out the college football colors and fall clothes. Trying to prep fo hot weather in un-airconditioned buildings.
I remember kindergarten in a country school. It was less than four miles from our house. Easy access. A true neighborhood school. The old “be careful what you wish for” as it was a small building and classes were combined. I loved that I was allowed to read. I hated that we wasted our time on silly worksheets and coloring pages and so much Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff. Their lives didn’t match our rural farm lives.
And then first grade was in town. In an addition to the school. First grade with other first grade classes. First grade where I could only read books off the first grade shelf in the library. First grade where I read all the books by the end of the first quarter. First grade where my teacher tore up my page with a red sun, a purple sky and green flowers. That wasn’t her picture. First grade where it didn’t matter what I needed or wanted to learn. First grade where I was going to conform. First grade where I was sick. A lot. first grade where I can still remember the number of tiles on the bathroom walls, the floor, and even the ceiling.
First grade when I hated school.
Hated the Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff stories that I already read the year before. They were awful the first time. They were an even bigger waste of time the second time around. I didn’t excel at coloring inside the lines. I wanted the task to be done. I wanted to be able to read, write and draw. Creativity was not prized. My pictures never made the wall. I know exactly how Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik felt when her teacher gave her an F for her free verse poem and this poem by Robert Gianni was praised.
“I have a dog whose name is Spot.He likes to eat and drink a lot.When I put water in his dish,He laps it up just like a fish.” *(Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry)
Which school better met my needs?
Access and Equity matter. All students need access to quality education. Equity is huge. The books that I was mining this holiday weekend are here. There are many others I could have consulted, but these were at the top of my stack!
What’s our goal?
If it truly is to “grow readers and writers” – students who want to read, who do read, and who love to read – kids need access to books. That’s an equity issue whether the school doesn’t even have books – due to their zip code! Or because the students have a new teacher and of course there is NO classroom library set up magically waiting for new teachers!
And then time to read glorious books. Self-selected books. Books that match their interests! Books that make sense to them!
Literacy for ALL . . . What does that mean?
Communicating as a priority. Classrooms not existing as rooms of silence!
Books that reflect the composition of the classroom and the communities around the world. No more “Boy Books” or “Girl Books”! Has you thinking been challenged?
A focus on learning NOT assessing.
The real tangible goal. Are ALL students progressing? Are all students learning self-assessment? Are students developing their own goals and agency? Are students transferring their literacy work to other content areas? What are your students telling you? Do they love learning? Are they curious?
Here are a few of the quotes I’m still holding onto . . .
How did you grow your knowledge and skills this summer?
What are you still wondering about?
What questions do your need answered?
What quotes would you add?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
2018 is the year of books!
These are just some of the books that I have read (and blogged about) during the last school year. I’ve left out Ellin Keene’s Engaging Children, Tom Marshall’s Reclaiming the Principalship, and Kristi Mraz and Christine Hertz’s Kids 1st From Day One. So much to continue to learn. So much to continue to read and write about. So much to continue to be curious about.
And then another new book emerges . . .
This week’s #G2Great chat will be about this new book from Stenhouse by Kari Yates and Christina Nosek. And I’ve been waiting
Conferring is still an area where I need to improve. Where I need to listen more and talk less. Where I need to grow. And conferring about reading!
The title is captivating: “to know and nurture a reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy”. I love the conventions, and their use in the title. I love “confidence and joy”.
Have you checked out the resources?
I have two chapters left to read and then I will be ready for the chat Thursday night. I can’t wait to spend more time practicing and improving my conferring skills with students and teachers. The videos, the tips, and all the problem solving has thus far been on target.
What are you reading?
What are your working on?
How will we know?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Disclaimer: The ideas in this blog are not novel. They are not original. They are appropriately “sourced” where credit can be applied. What is new / different / novel is perhaps the thinking that connects the ideas. Research-based.ideas! Student-centered.ideas! Many folks KNOW this. But do the teaching practices match the teacher beliefs?
Students need to read more in order to be better readers. Volume matters. (Richard Allington)
How can students read more?
A. Donalyn Miller – 40 book challenge
B. Book logs that keep track of books read. Compare lists over time.
C. Book lists kept by students that rate the books (scale of 1-5) and list genre.
D. Independent reading during class time followed up with time to talk about what was read.
Which ones of these have you tried and abandoned?
Did they work for awhile but then student interest seemed to wane and it seemed like students were “cheating” and recording books that they really hadn’t read? Or perhaps books that students began to read but when the going got tough, the books were abandoned?
Did you REALLY understand the goal / purpose behind that undertaking? Did you read the book behind the practice pushed into the classroom? Participate in a book study? Or did you find the pages on Pinterest or TPT and “try it” as a pilot with a high degree of skepticism.
If you went to the link above for Donalyn Miller’s 40 book challenge and read and even digested that post, you read these two paragraphs.
“The 40 Book Challenge isn’t an assignment you can simply add to outdated, ineffective teaching practices. The Book Challenge rests on the foundation of a classroom reading community built on research-based practices for engaging children with reading. Assigning a 40 Book Challenge as a way to generate grades or push children into reading in order to compete with their classmates corrupts everything I have written and said about reading. The 40 Book Challenge is meant to expand students’ reading lives, not limit or define it.
The 40 Book Challenge is a personal challenge for each student, not a contest or competition between students or classes. In every competition or contest there are winners and losers. Why would we communicate to our students that they are reading losers? For some students, reading 40 books is an impossible leap from where they start as readers, and for others, it’s not a challenge at all.”
This is just a small piece of Donalyn’s 40 book challenge. Reading one blog, one tweet, or attending one hour long session at a conference is not enough for deep learning. But it is enough to whet your appetite. Your appetite for life-long learning as well as your yearning for a solution that makes sense to you, your students, and your community will grow. Your appetite may lead to a mini action research cycle as you implement a research-based strategy in your classroom.
A week ago a friend of mine asked on Twitter: “Does anyone have a genre chart they can share to encourage strong readers’ growth?” And Dayna had several results immediately.
Steve shared this:
and Julieanne shared this:
I immediately drooled over both and wondered about combining them and adding
- Quarter 1 Goal ________________
- Quarter 2 Goal ________________
- Quarter 3 Goal ________________
- Quarter 4 Goal ________________
and then Steve added that his students also do this quarterly in google slides:
Why is this important?
Dayna Wells (@daywells) a principal in California asked the question. Two 5th grade teachers replied. Steve Peterson (@inside the dog) from Iowa and Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) from California. Teachers collaborating online to share their practices. (And of course commercial #107 for WHY you really should have a professional Twitter account! ) Because if you followed them on Twitter, you would also know that they all three blog as well and you would have access to additional resources about / from each of them! (Commercial #108 for Twitter)
Relevance? What do you measure?
Matt Renwick (@ReadByExample), a public school administrator in Wisconsin, believes that “volume” is not enough for reading goals in his January 1, 2017 post “I didn’t meet my reading goal (and is that okay?)”. Goodreads said, “Better luck in 2017.” But his reading was rich. And look at all the qualities that Goodreads did include in their report as compiled by Kendra Grant:
If you go back to answer choices A, B, C, and D above, how do those match up with the goodreads list. I think 5 of the 7 data points are easily covered. Do you NEED 5 data points? Maybe. Maybe not. Do you need ALL 7 data points? Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends upon the ultimate goal of your independent reading.
Who our students are?
Who our students might become as readers?
What’s the ultimate goal?
Is the purpose for a reading goal . . . to hold a student accountable for what they read? Or provide proof that they read and understood and (gasp) remembered a boatload of details to answer a quiz?
Or is the purpose of the reading goal to provide an opportunity to NURTURE a love for reading? And to encourage / nudge EVERY student to become an avid reader? See “Let’s Not Kill the Love of Reading” by Dr. Tony Sinanis (@TonySinanis).
Is the purpose to make sure that the teacher is helping all students to “BECOME a reader” (Thank you, Dr. Mary Howard – @DrMaryHoward) ?
What data do you need?
The data needs to match your ultimate goal AND the needs of the students. Are you thinking, “OK, I can keep doing what I have been doing?”
2. “Students do not need:
Programs / contests that provide extrinsic reward
Packets of activities”
Why are they missing?
Section 2 of the table of contents is included so you can see the practices that support increased student achievement.
“SECTION 2: WHY NOT? WHAT WORKS?
Why Independent Reading Matters and the Best Practices to Support It, Barbara Moss
- Does Independent Reading Influence Student Achievement?
- If We Know Independent Reading Is Effective, Why Don’t We Do It?
- A New Reason for Independent Reading: The Common Core State Standards
- What Practices Are Critical for Effective Independent Reading?
- Why Independent Reading Matters Most for Striving Readers and English Learners
- The Last Word: An Overview of Independent Reading Implementation by Teachers
Need more evidence? Check out “Three Keys to Creating Successful Reading Experiences” by Pernille Ripp (1/4/2017) and “Revisiting My One Classroom Non-Negotiable” by Christina Nosek.
YOU MUST . . .
- stop wasting students’ time,
- stop assigning “activities” in the name of accountability,
- make sure that anything you
askrequire students to do is that which YOU are willing to do as well in your own independent reading life.
DO YOU . . .
- keep a log?
- set goals?
- reflect on your goals?
- meet your goals?
- discuss how you feel about your reading?
- review the text complexity of your own reading?
Do your personal practices match your instructional practices?
You MUST utilize some “lens” or filter to sort out resources.
These are NOT all equal. A single number is NOT a goal!
How does your goal match your purpose? What are you REALLY measuring?
Process Goal for this Post:
Combine tweets; google docs, drawings, and slides; blog posts, books and Voxer conversations for a blog post with at least eight links for the reader to peruse and consider as they reflect upon whether their current teaching practices SUPPORT increased student reading! (And thanks to Dayna, Steve, Julieanne, Mary, Christina, Matt, Tony, Donalyn, Debbie and Barbara for the wonderful way that their work supports each other!)
Kylene Beers facebook post about lifetime readers!