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.