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?