Emily Reed is our guest blogger for Chapter 5 of Who's Doing the Work?
Independent reading. I, myself, am a voracious reader. Independent reading time means I can read, read, read to my hearts content. I am experimenting with different genres, grow as a reader.
This is what it should mean for students. "Reading a lot of authentic texts for meaning and pleasure is emphasized above all, and there is a contagious energy about books...." This is what I want to see in classrooms. Sometimes we put too much effort into the students responding to texts and noting their strategy use. We need to just let them read and love and enjoy reading too.
The one thing I want to improve upon is my own conferences. Right now, I think they are more teacher driven than student driven. I want to try to make this shift, allowing students to be more in control, so students are identifying the tricky spots and how they resolved their issues.
Gretchen Vogle is our guest blogger for this week. Gretchen is a second grade teacher at Lawnton Elementary in the Central Dauphin School District.
Giving up control is often difficult for teachers. It is natural that we want to step in and help a struggling student. However, this chapter really made me think about how I respond to students during guided reading. Guided reading truly is the “dress rehearsal” for independent reading and students are not always going to have someone telling them which strategy to use. Therefore, using general prompts, such as “What will you do?,” requires students to think independently while the teacher is right there for support. In order to help me become used to this method, I think I am going to put questions from this chapter on a card to keep at my guided reading table. This will serve as a visual reminder until it becomes a habit. How will you incorporate these strategies into your guided reading lessons?
Another point that kept reappearing in this chapter is text selection. Often a lack of resources limits our options. At my school, we have a book room and a subscription to Reading A-Z. I also try to purchase sets of high interest books through Scholastic book orders. How do you ensure the texts you use for guided reading are engaging?
Emily Reed, Reading Specialist at Dillsburg Elementary School, is our guest blogger again this week. The third chapter of Who's Doing the Work? focuses on shared reading.
When a teacher says Shared Reading an image comes to mind.
Students on the carpet surrounding a teacher, all reading and experiencing the same text.
But there is so much more to a Shared Reading than just that image.
I am really enjoying the dancing metaphor for Shared Reading.
It really reminded me of my first ever Zumba class.
Zumba, when you first begin, is not really that easy. (Okay maybe for some of you it is!)
There is so much to learn and do.
The Zumba teacher always begins demonstrating the moves, but then comes the SHARED part.
We practice the moves together. The teacher doing the moves slowly and us echoing and mimicking them.
If we aren't quite getting it, they even say, "remember earlier when I...(echoing back to when they demonstrated)
This is Shared Reading. But just like there is a lot to being a good Zumba teacher...there is a lot of important things to remember when doing Shared Reading.
My name is Emily Reed.
I am a Reading Specialist at Dillsburg Elementary School in Northern York County School District.
Read-Aloud has always been my favorite time of day as a child (and probably still is today).
I couldn't wait to explore different worlds and characters.
I would listen to someone else's voice as I pictured the characters and worlds in my head, developing meaning as the words echoed in my mind..
My Read-Aloud experience began at home.
My dad read to me every night for as long as I can remember, even long after I began middle school. I remember hearing Go Dog Go, Where the Wild Things Are, More Spaghetti I Say.
As I grew older, we explored the worlds in Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time. I think we read every Scott O'Dell and Lois Lowry book there was, together. He read the stories and we talked about what we thought, what we loved and what we were wondering. This experience I know is why I am such a voracious reader. I literally started from day 1, to enjoy words and stories and to learn to question and discover the world within books.
Not all students have the benefit of such a wonderful dad like mine.
So, that is were we as teachers come in.
We need to make Read-Aloud an important part of our daily routine.
The text used the words "Read-Aloud is a Commercial for Reading" often.
I love this statement.
This is a great time to show children how awesome reading is.
if we make thoughtful selections of text to share, making sure to offer a variety of genres, a variety of characters, a variety of experiences, we can open the world of reading up to a whole new group of students. We also need to know it is okay to not plan-plan-plan the read-aloud to death based on a particular standard. We can read for the enjoyment of text. We don't have to be "in control" all the time, but should let the quality of text lead the children to explore their thoughts, feelings, about the text. The student role during a read-aloud should be active, not passive. They should be talking, gasping, laughing, crying, responding to the text. That is where their love of books will shine through.
Introduction & Chapter 1
As we start a new book blog, it seems most appropriate to do quick introductions. My name is Miranda Aaron and I am a Literacy Coach at LeTort Elementary in the Carlisle Area School District. My teaching experience is in 2nd grade and I recently finished my Masters in Reading making this book seem perfectly timed.
If you didn’t get a chance to read the Introduction, I do recommend it! We must be reflective about just how much support we are providing our students. Are we teaching processes that students will later know how to apply on their own or are we making them dependent on our scaffolding? Who’s Doing the Work will encourage “Next Generation Reading Instruction….[that] requires us to scrutinize our lessons through a lens of student independent/dependence and involves identifying places where we are assuming student work that students could do if we let them.” (pg. 5) We must be responsive to the needs of our students rather than pre-planning every decision about what should be taught. It is time to transfer some of the work back to our students!
The key take away I had from Chapter 1 was BALANCE. As an elementary teacher, I know all too well the pressures of moving students from one reading level to the next. Reading levels are a succinct way to talk about students’ reading achievement, to group them among like ability, and to share progress with families. However, it is key that discussion of reading level is balanced by what processes students are proficient at when reading. The examples of text to read and discussion of Kendra, Marco, and Patrick’s reading skills illustrate this beautifully. We as teachers must use all the tools in our tool belt to truly know our students as readers. It is only by knowing our students as readers that we will be able to appropriately support them in instruction. Once we know our students, we also must teach balance in the reading itself. Successful efficient readers equally rely on print and meaning to understand the texts they are encountering. We must deeply understand our readers to appropriately scaffold and allow students to do the thinking.
As we move forward into week one of this book, I challenge you to look around your classroom and begin considering where you may be doing too much of the work. Reflect upon what your students could do if asked to independently attack a task you believe you have been teaching them all along and where might you need to let go of the reigns of responsibility.
This is our last blog post for our book study on Every Child A Super Reader. It was a quick book study, but we wanted to finish up before the Christmas holiday. We hope that you found the book to be a good resource to use with children of all ages in the classroom (and at home too)! Thank you to all the guest bloggers. Your insight and thoughtful reflection helped led us to a deeper understanding of the text.
Capital Reading Council will be doing a book study over the cold months of Winter. We are looking for suggestions of text to use. This could be a new (or older) professional book or a middle grade or young adult book title that we would like to discuss. This book study will be a hybrid book study with the majority of our discussion being posts via our website, but also some face-to-face contact for those that can meet to discuss the book. Please share your title suggestions in this last post for consideration.
Mike Williams is our final guest blogger. He writes...
The last two chapters focused on assessment and planning. It was obvious that we would end with assessment, but I was surprised with the planning section to be the very last chapter of the book. However, after careful reflection, it was the best place for it to be. Morrell and Allyn described the rationale for the book, described the seven strengths of a "super reader," and showed us how to apply the strengths in the classroom, at home, or in a non-traditional learning environment. The authors front loaded the information, giving us what we needed, so that we can thoughtfully consider planning to implement what we have learned at the end of the book.
The assessment tools are very authentic, allowing teachers to meet readers where they are, grow them based upon the strengths, and see how they are developing the strengths and using them when reading....real reading! I found the 7 Strengths Student Survey to be not as user friendly as it could be. There is no room to have students respond and it would need to be adapted to meet the needs of younger students. However, I loved the 7 Strengths Checklist for Digital Citizenship. This is a great way to have students reflect upon themselves as a digital community of readers. I used this as reflection of our participation as teachers as readers in this online book study community. The language used in the Super Reader Rubric was encouraging across all levels of learning. Those readers that are emerging, don't feel as though they aren't below other readers. The Goal Setting task lists reminded me of setting goals in our previous books study of The Writing Strategies. What was your favorite assessment tool? How can you use of these tools in your educational setting?
The chapter on planning was pretty straight forward, but I loved how it kept the 7 strengths as the first and foremost important item when planning. The First 25 days checklist in setting up a super reader classroom reminded me of how important it is to establish routines for anything that you want the children to do in the classroom. Obviously, the authors intended for these 25 days to be scheduled at the beginning of the year. However, I am planning to start my 25 days to establish my routine at the start of the new calendar year (after the holiday break)! You can do this at anytime! Allyn and Morrell provided us with a very useful tool in looking at the whole year (August to July) in helping to develop super readers. I found this to be very useful. We often think some of the months are out of reach since we don't have the children during those months. This reinforced the important connection between home and school. How will you plan to develop super readers? What suggestions do you have to share to build that reading relationship between home and school?
Our guest blogger this week is Jen Shettel, a professor at Millersville University. Jen writes:
This section looks at putting the 7 Strengths into action in our classrooms and give a brief dip into some best practices, management techniques, and methods for supporting independent readers. I suspect that there wasn’t a whole lot of new ideas in these three chapters for many of us, but it’s always great confirmation to know that the practices you ARE doing are good ones!
There have been whole books written about the “Best Practices” in this chapter! I thought the authors did a nice job of giving an overview of some of these and connecting to the 7 Strengths. My favorites were the two that encourage peer collaboration - reading buddies (pp. 145-146) and reading clubs (pp. 146-147). Which techniques presented in this chapter spoke to you OR what is one you are currently using that is successful?
Encouraging Independent Reading - can I get an, “Amen?!?” We’ve been hearing over and over about the power of choice, access, and independent reading - not just in this book, but from all of the big names in reading - from Doug Fisher to Donalyn Miller. I’m a big proponent of choice and access and not limiting children to books “on their level” or that are deemed appropriate by adults. What are your thoughts on this?
Oh, classroom management - the backbone of every exemplary teacher! Engagement is KEY here, and making sure that students are active participants and constructors of their own learning is of critical importance. I’m a fan of Turn & Talk (p. 163), but sometimes I think that is overused. What are your tried-and-true ways to make sure students are actively engaged in their own learning?
Our blog host this week is Christine Hartzman. Christine's post focuses on Chapters 7, 8, and 9.
STRENGTHS: Confidence, Courage, Hope
As I continue to read Every Child A Super Reader, it is not only about teaching readers, but also a book about teaching and raising a SUPER HUMAN. Each of us has needed one of the strengths either as a child, teen or adult in various situations. We have all had experiences where we were struggling and had to call upon the kindness of friends or felt the need to belong to a community. There have been plenty of times where one needs the courage or confidence to try something new or go out on a limb. Yes, we are targeting “readers” in this text, however, I am taking things away for my current class, my future classes, and my own life.
The following are my “A-HA” moments in reading:
Chapter 7: CONFIDENCE
We have all met a student who lacked confidence in a subject area: reading, math, physical education, art, or music. My question has always been the same, “How do we help a student grow to become more confident?” In nt experience and in reading the text, I am closer to the answer - books, books, and more books. In reading, students can see characters or everyday people build the confidence that they need to grow and overcome a challenge. As teachers, we can model and practice growing confidence through speaking and listening to our students, but also practicing these skills through the partnerships and classroom community will provide opportunities to make this strength a habit.
Chapter 8: COURAGE
My Golden Line for chapter 8 is located on page 109, “Risk taking begins with a decision to act, and courage provides the inspiration to act. According to Michael Agar (1994), being courageous rewards individuals from living a life of “being” to a life of “becoming.”
Recently, I have trained to become a Barre instructor. It has been many days, long hours, countless classes and more practice to follow. Some people have asked why I have decided take on this extra responsibility as well as time commitment to my already hectic schedule. It may not make sense to everyone, but I wanted to take a risk and try something new to show my students that taking risk and courage do not stop because you become an adult. I want my students to know that we can all learn and grow at any age.
Chapter 9: HOPE
My students love when we use song lyrics in the classroom. As an ELA teacher, I use songs for analysis, connections,or compare and contrast. In MATH, I play a motivational song before a quiz or test that will create a mindset of YES, I CAN! Therefore, I will share three of my favorites songs of HOPE:
Share an example, a golden line, or a tip on how you can develop the above strengths with your students.
This week's host is Aileen Hower, an Assistant Professor of Literacy at Millersville University. Aileen writes:
Chapters 4, 5, and 6 focus on more strengths of the "super reader."
Chapter 4 discusses the strength of curiosity. So many individuals outside of the world of education have recognized curiosity as a vital skill. Websites like Wonderopolis (https://wonderopolis.org/) promote and honor curiosity in our classrooms. Inquiry-based instruction, the books we choose for our students to read, and dialogic learning all foster curiosity.
Chapter 5 encourages educators to allow students (and themselves) to build friendships within the classroom. Friendships are vital "to children's social and emotional health and well-being" (p. 72). The chapter discusses many ways that friendships can be facilitated and grown in the school setting.
Finally, Chapter 6 recognizes the timeless importance of kindness. The chapter opens in a timely manner (I went to see the movie with my fourth grader on Sunday), with a quote from R. J. Palacio's Wonder: "We carry with us, as human being, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness" (p. 83). Allyn and Morrell offer specific steps we can take to promote kindness in and out of school.
Which of these strengths do you already have a place of honor for in your classroom? How do you make time to "teach" them? Which one might you want to add to your teaching repertoire? Why?
Thank you for sharing your responses,
Emily Reed is our next guest blog host. Emily is a Reading Specialist at Dillsburg Elementary School in the Northern York County School District. She also is the Director of Membership Development for the Keystone State Reading Association and the Co-President of the Capital Reading Council.
Chapter 2 focused on introducing the 7 strengths model.
The model is a way to ensure every child's success. I am excited to take the journey with you all as we learn about each strength and how our students may be impacted by those strengths. I enjoyed the family guide that was included to help parents understand how they can help nurture their own super readers.
Chapter 3 focused on Strength 1: Belonging
There is strong evidence that shows that belonging matters to how successful a student is in and outside of school. When the author discussed the student-teacher relationship being an ideal support for those students who lack a sense of belonging in the home, it made my ears perk up. I think you would agree, that this happens in all of our classrooms. We need to fill the gap that our students may have in their lives. We need to help our students feel like they belong to our family, our community.
How do you develop belonging in your reading environment? What new learning did you walk away with that you may want to incorporate?