I keep thinking back to this blog and how I was so proud of myself for starting it and yet, I haven’t posted anything since my course required it. So…in good fashion, I’m back! Yeah!!
I finished Donalyn Miller’s Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild and I have to say I’m moving into this new school year with some great ideas and a feeling that I’ve been on the right path all along. She’s a teacher in Texas and has learned these lessons of getting students to read through her own teaching. I’ve always believed that to be a better reader, you gotta read! Well, she’s solidified that for me. In the last few years, I’ve set aside 30-45 minutes of silent reading. Not only do we sit and read during class, we read whatever we want! I think the kids love it, I love it, and because of this, students have become wild readers. And not only those who loved to read in the first place, but those kids who looked at me with those eyes saying, “What? You not only want me to read for this long, but on my own AND keep reading?” I love it!
Recently, Miller’s blog, “Nerdy Book Club”, brought up an interesting thought about why we, as wild readers, pause and abandon our books. She wrote about eight reasons as to why readers may hit pause on their books (you can read her blog post here: “Hit Pause”). I personally have several books or series I’ve had to pause on because they were too long or the subject too deep, or not what I thought the book would be about. I guess I just need something else at that specific moment. Then I started thinking about this in terms of my students. Why do they stop reading a book and how do I get them to move forward and perhaps gain an understanding as to why they stopped. How do I encourage them to jot down that title and come back to it later? Which then of course got me thinking about how much later is later? I’ve got books I’ve started years ago and keep picking them up thinking ‘eh, maybe, but remembering what a struggle or how boring a book was and putting it back on my shelf. How long do I let pass when I’m encouraging 5th graders to come back to a paused book?
Besides reading quite a bit this summer, pleasure and professionally, I’ve learned a lot about myself as a learner and teacher. Our school is moving to becoming a Google school, so I’ve been included in this change and learning new things regarding this change has been interesting. I’m looking forward to these changes along with a new superintendent, new hours in our school and hopefully some changes in attitude as these changes unfold.
With that, comes the end of my summer with a visit from my in-laws, some workshops, and days in my classroom, trying to wrap my head around everything I want to do this year. Between scheduling IRT (independent reading time), writing/reading conferences, and wanting my interactive notebooks to work out….I need a break. =) What am I saying…I still have a few weeks to go, they are just going to go fast!!
In all seriousness, I’m looking forward to this upcoming year with a new batch of students that I have come to know and enjoy their company and having them in my classroom as fifth graders.
Now, if you’ll excuse me…a book is calling my name! Go and READ!