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“The 40 Book Challenge isn’t an assignment you can simply add to outdated, ineffective teaching practices.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!
Making Powerful Connections Across the Twitterverse Using Social Media to Become Agents of Change
Amy Brennan, Jill DeRosa, Jenn Hayhurst, Mary Howard, and Jeanne Marie Mazzaferro shared how Twitter, a book Good to Great, and Voxer has led to changes in instruction and professional development. Read more about their session here on Jennifer’s blog.
Embracing Trouble: Problem Solving and Responsive Teaching in the Reading and Writing Classroom
Colleen Cruz, author of The Unstoppable Writing Teacher: Real Strategies for the Real Classroom, presented a series of steps to problem solve writing difficulties. This was interactive as we were working on a problem of our own as we learned about the steps.
- Name your trouble.
- How do you know it’s a problem?
- Where do you feel stuck? Why is it keeping you up at night?
- What are you most afraid will happen?
- Rename the problem as a realization or goal.
- Name the roadblocks that might get in the way.
- How might you deal with those roadblocks? Find a small little piece to start with.
- Plan first step. Second step. Send yourself a text with your plan as a reminder.
Barb Golub reminded us that “No matter what, Independent reading time needs to happen every day.” EVERY.DAY.INDEPENDENT.READING.EVERY.STUDENT
“Be true to yourself.”
“Teaching is hard.”
“You need to find your group or tribe for both celebrations and in times of trouble.”
Jennifer Serravallo, author of The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers, began with a description of her previous typical classroom of 32 children, 10 with IEPs, 5 Ells, and parents who felt disconnected from schooling.
Because it was chaotic, she knew that she needed an action plan to fix the problem. She relied on experiences from her father, a chemist, to develop a plan.
1. Get to know the student. Stuff inside a messy desk may tell us more than the assessments. Use an engagement inventory to consider student stamina/ability to re-engage. How do you use running records? Not use for process, not as summative, but for formative information, but for next steps in teaching.
Where is the student pausing?
What patterns in pauses, miscues, . ..?
What is the student thinking about?
2. Decide on a goal for each reader. Honor student strength and potential when determining next steps. Jen referenced both Petty and Hattie for research in goal setting and specific feedback focused on goals. She reminded us that you must have a goal in order to be impactful. Look at the Hierarchy when making decisions about goals. “Have one goal for kids.”
3. Teach a strategy that aligns to goals. The strategy will have actionable steps with a verb. It will literally break down the work in a skill. (The newest publication has the goals color coded like the picture above!)
4. Make the goals visible. The goals need to be visible for the reader, other teachers, and parents. Pictures can help. Information on class website / blog can also provide visible goals.
“Have Student notes in a two pocket folder. Put reading information in one pocket and writing in the other pocket. Write notes. Have this chart ready at all times for communication purposes. Make it be like a “chart” at the hospital that hangs on the end of the bed. The doctor comes in and picks it up – One chart that travels with the student. (BRILLIANT coordination of information about the student!)”
5. Stay focused on the goal during conferences and small group work. So if you are working on fluency, you will make sure the student reads text.
“Teachers: You matter! You make a difference!”
The Art of Knowing Our Students: Action Research for Learning and Reflection
Matt Renwick – Elementary principal in Wisconsin
We began with Matt’s question, “What do you think of when you hear the word ‘research’?” Research should actually include listening, talking and even laughter as everyone learns from each other. Action Research – be a renegade / individual who rejects conventional behavior. Matt shared examples of research that both he and the teachers in his building are engaged in
Karen Terlecky – literacy coach for teachers of grades 3-5
“The stories behind children are important! It’s not all about the numbers!” Karen’s research question is “How might stamina and choice increase student reading engagement and achievement?” Observational data might include taking pictures/video, listening to students read. Additional information from “status of the class” can tell about stamina, where stuck, favorite genres, and whether students are just “skipping around.” And a shout out to Cathy Mere, “How might celebration within the literacy block incrase student motivation and engagement?”
Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan
Clare and Tammy speak and write so eloquently about assessment and making sense of all the data that is collected – and so much more than just the numbers! How do we get “Wonder” as a regular piece of teacher work? In other words getting past issues of time, learning, questions, AND not having ALL the answers!
- More than a number
- Assessment and instruction are inseparable
- Instruction can meet high standards and be developmentally appropriate.
“Students want to know how they are doing. They don’t want to just hear about the errors that have been recorded.” Triangulating data must include teaching. Ask: “What do you notice? What do you wonder?”
I loved our work where we looked at the data pictured below and listed what we knew and wondered about this student who had scores below the benchmark and above the benchmark as well. What do you notice and wonder?
Take aways for today: