The Tuesday Slice of Life is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers, where many link their posts to share what’s going on in their lives, both personal and educational. Come visit everyone's posts to check out their writing about their summers!
After all the earlier sessions, all the talk at breakfasts, lunches and dinners, I attended one more session, that of Dr. Tim Rasinski, now teaching at Kent State University. You can access his website here! He also sent other sources of readings for students to use. If you are interested, let me know. I have them on Google Docs and can easily share them.
Dr. Rasinski's talk concerned reading fluency, and the effect of using reader’s theater on that fluency. I didn’t record the actual research project’s title, but thought this session’s entire focus was interesting enough to tell all of you about it. Whether you are a teacher or a parent with a child who needs to improve his or her fluency, Dr. Rasinski convinced me enough to want to try his idea in the classroom. The ideas were simple, do readers theater fifteen minutes a day, five days a week, and fluency will improve. When students practice reading aloud repeated times, studies show that there can be vast improvement in fluency. That’s it, just practice. Considering there has been a thread throughout the conference that those 10,000 hours discussed in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers were important in order to gain expertise, this session seemed to be a terrific ending. In addition to sources on the website, here is one fluency lesson he sent to us personally.
I was impressed with this idea. Those who work with different kinds of readers in a any setting will find this helpful. One thing that I took note of is that Dr. Rasinski said that older students who were already reading and who did the fifteen minutes a day showed as much as two years' growth after some weeks of practice.
And finally came The Ending Keynote, given by Lester Laminack. It was inspiring enough that one wanted to run up on stage and hug him (I didn’t!) It was inspiring enough that I wanted to run and buy his books. (I did, at least a few.) His talk this time was about turning even such a small thing as a smell into something important to capture in writing. He spoke of pausing and taking in the memory. As he entered a store with a bakery, the smell carried him back to his Saturdays with Mammaw, spending that splendid time with her as they did Saturday chores, had lunch, and then set about making something sweet, the teacakes that Lester adored so much. In his talk, he shares that this is where he learned to crack eggs, and when they first slopped out onto the floor, his grandmother would just say to get another and clean it up. In this house, everything he did was accepted as who he was, someone who was learning and growing.
It was a time to lean back at this end, relax, and enjoy this wonderful storyteller. It was magical, him offering us a slice of his life to take with us and savor.
You’ve been so patient as I’ve written these words about the All-Write Conference. It was a gift I gave myself, and in turn, I hope my sharing has resulted in some small wrapped up gifts of knowledge for all of you.
===============================================Something exciting! I'm also visiting and honored to share a bit of how and why I use notebooks over at Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's blog, Sharing Our Notebooks! Come see me there too!