I'm joining professionals from all over the world for this year's CyberPD as they explore Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild. I'll be blogging and tweeting my thoughts out as I read. #Cyberpd is hosted by @cathymere at Reflect and Refine, @laurakomos at Ruminate and Invigorate, and @litlearningzone at Literacy Zone. If you'd like to join in, check out any of their blogs or follow the hashtag #cyberPD
Chapter 3: Wild Readers Share Books with Other Readers
Can I tell you how much I want my high school reading classes to look and sound like the classes Donalyn describes in the opening pages of chapter 3? I want to create that environment, that culture that screams, "It's cool to read! Reading is valued here!" I've been scribbling notes to myself for an hour. Things I want to remember to do in my classroom to enhance and share our reading community.
And don't you love the questions Miller shared from Jeff Wilhem?
"What's your bottom line? What do you really want to happen for your students? Now, how does what you do every day serve that bottom line?"
Those are such great questions for teachers to ask themselves each year before school starts. I know I will be thinking a lot about them in the weeks to come.
I've taught grades 7-12 for 25 years. I've taught remedial classes, gifted classes, and everyone in between. Here's what I know: Many kids don't like reading or won't admit to liking reading because they aren't very good at it. Others don't like reading or won't admit to liking because they don't want to be labeled as "smart" or a "nerd". Both groups feel like no one would listen to them when it comes to the books they like.
If you can create that reading community and make reading a valuable part of your class time, everyone's voice gets heard. This year I taught two periods of freshmen English. We read every day. One of my "epicenter" readers was also very quiet and had been homeschooled for many years. She was smart and articulate but hesitant to speak out in class at times. Eventually, though, other epicenter readers began asking her about the books she was reading. And one on one she would share. By the end of the year, she was much better at sharing with others who were not in her small circle of friends. I truly believe the reason was she knew and others knew that reading was valued in our room.
I need to do an even better job of creating community, of creating a reading valued classroom and I wrote down lots of ideas from chapter 3.
I loved my reading door this year. But it was all mine. The idea of getting kids to take it over appeals to me. I'd love to get them to create their own reading doors on their lockers, but I think that would be too much for high school students (at least this first semester of me teaching these classes). Taking over the door sounds like a great project for my new Individualized Reading class!
I also have plans for a graffiti wall. I think I have a great place for it. Right behind the couch on the wall beside the book cases. Hope I can get it all arranged so it works out well.
I'm seriously considering having my students create Goodreads accounts and creating a group for them. I know they will be writing some reviews and blog posts about what they are reading. Will have to think about the timing of it all and how to fit this into a 45 minute class period.
Other things to try: book commercials, book trailers, and more speed dating with books. But this year, instead of students passing books around and jotting down titles that sound interesting, I'd like to change it up once students have been reading a bit. I've thought about having half the class sit with a couple of books they have read. The other half of the class would "date" them. The students with the books could quickly book talk them and the date could ask any questions they wanted about the books. Then the next time we could switch book talkers and daters. I haven't worked this out fully in my head yet, but I think it could work.
And I MUST do a better job of conferring--especially in Individualized Reading. I like the idea of recording conferences. My ipad may be getting a workout this coming school year :)
Chapter 4: Wild Readers Have Reading Plans
And here's where I "fail". Although I make plans on what and when I'll read, I don't share this with my students, nor do I work with them to create their own.
I MUST DO THIS
First, I want Individualized Reading and College Prep Lit to create a reading goal for the semester. How many books do they think they can read during the course of the semester they are with me. I'll make one too and keep my results posted in the room. We can talk about how many books that reading rate can translate into if they plan their reading.
And I know that they will tell me they don't have time.
Because sometimes I think I don't have time either....
We'll look at their day...at how much homework they normally have...if they are in sports....have a job....all the things that fill their days.
And then, we'll work on carving out time to read. And, we'll revisit reading rates and reading time periodically throughout the semester to make sure those things are still working.
Speed dating and book talks will help them keep a list of what they want to read next.
I WILL DO THIS.
Building a Personal Canon
I couldn't not (how do like that double negative?) write about this.....
My shelves at home and at school show this....
|Part of my personal canon on display in my room|
When kids ask me what my favorite book is, I always tell them I can't pick just one, that I have many. And if they keep pushing, I share a few with them. I write about books that mean a lot to me. I want to find a way for students to share their own, something other than a blog post.
Something I'll be thinking about the rest of the summer, I'm sure.