Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hurrah for Wild Readers - #CyberPD

            Reading In The Wild by Donalyn Miller is something to shout about, and luckily for us, Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone(@litlearningzone), Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate (@LauraKomos) and Cathy Mere at  Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community (@CathyMere) are hosting #CyberPd again this summer, where we'll read Donalyn's book, and reflect upon it, discuss it, perhaps even disagree about it.        
        That's the great thing about reading together, and Donalyn writes about it on page 9, "During daily reading time, our students practice more than their reading skills; they practice living like readers. Reading together, swapping books, sharing observations and recommendations, and developing reading relationships help students approximate wild reading behaviors. This why reading time at school really matters. Students need to connect with other readers and participate in a reading culture that values them." It's exactly what we'll be doing today, and for the next two weeks. While following the tweets from #nERDcampMI, I found this tweet from @BrianWyzlic, quoting Donalyn's presentation: 


  • Attention to students "at-risk" who are pulled out during reading time, missing the opportunities that those who don't have to leave have. On page 10, "Reading is fun for people who can read well, but that's not you."
  • Direct teaching of the behaviors of wild readers is important, like the discussions described of 'Reading on the Edge'. I have to say I never did this. I realize that I wrongly assumed that everyone always had a book in case there was time to 'grab'. It's an aha moment for me, yet I do know that assuming students (really anyone) have certain skills is wrong. It's good for teachers to questions their beliefs often, and Donalyn's explanations of some of her teaching about being a wild reader is something to ponder. I work with teachers of students K-8 now, and will work to share this learning with them.
  • Keeping a reading itinerary for one week shows students and teachers much. When I taught (mixed age 11-14 year olds), reflection was an important aspect of what students did for themselves, focusing primarily on time management, and at other times on the work process and then work accomplished, etc. I never thought to focus on reading behaviors, and now I will share this aspect of encouraging "reading" self-awareness.
From Chapter Two: Part of these observations return to the quote above, students' need for community. On page 47, "Improving students' ability to choose their own books begins with lots of positive reading experiences and frequent opportunities to preview, share and discuss books. Donalyn seems to encourage these actions, be sure there's time for them, and reflection from them. All important for student growth in independent behavior. I love the ideas of finding certain poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors students should know, and using them as read alouds, then later reading different genres so that students can learn the genres and use the library well, too. This will have a definite crossover to writing. Becoming more intentional about the reading that is happening certainly makes more thoughtful writers.
       I also loved the idea of the book drawings. Wow, wish I'd thought of that! It was such a problem when a new book became available. Now I know a very good idea to share.

      There is so much that is good in these chapters, and much that I know is good. My personal/professional challenge is to sift through to see what will help each teacher I work with turn their students into "wild readers". 

      A final reflection:  I am a wild reader, have never stopped reading, own many books, adult, books for all ages of children, books at school, books in every room of my house. What started me thinking even more about this is this past day in reading this book, after reading others, like The Book Whisperer, and then Donalyn and Susie shared that they started their research by looking at the habits of wild readers. Today on the PBS Newshour, an author was interviewed who had co-written a book about Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. The title is The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, The CIA and the Battle Over A Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvee. I was fascinated, looked up the book, found the backstory, and will certainly read it. I grew up during the cold war, read Dr. Zhivago, adored it, cried over the pain and suffering. It was one of the first books when I realized I was nearly an adult. I am excited that I heard about the book! I want students to feel like this about books, years from now! I want my colleagues to want this too!

             Thanks Laura, Michelle and Cathy for hosting. I'm so excited to see what others say about their reading.

19 comments:

  1. Linda,
    I smiled a million times through your post. First of all, loved your connection between the #cyberPD conversation and the peer groups we need to create in our classrooms. This book really has me thinking about the significance of relationship in reading. Perhaps it is the most important part of reading? Perhaps? You touched upon the many ways we can help to build that community and deepen those relationships.

    I enjoyed reading about the significance of Dr. Zhivago in your reading life. It made me think about some of the books that have been most significant in mine. Did you see Mary Ann Reilly's timeline of her reading life: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/44262008812761604/ ? I may have to give this a try before summer is over.

    Cathy

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    1. Thanks for your reply, Cathy. Sharing books is an important part of my reading life, & it was when I was in the classroom, too. Thanks for the link, sounds really interesting to see a timeline, & older students would love doing it.

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  2. Explicit instruction on how to be a wild reader is something that is sticking with me as well. I am a wild reader, an edge reader. I always choose my new handbags based on whether or not they will hold a book easily. I never go to a place where I know I will have to wait without taking a book. I get annoyed when the dentist is on time because it cuts in to my reading time! :) I don't explicitly teach this though.

    I think the book drawings are brilliant too! I used to work at a school with a librarian (not any more, thank you budget cuts!) and the book she shared was always fought over my students, but the next week when it was available nobody fought over it. I think the drawings are a great way to keep the hype going.

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    1. We are definitely on the same page, with all of these points made so well by Donalyn. I especially liked the book drawing idea, & of course all the parts about direct teaching & conversation. Love about choosing the handbag, me too. This time it has to fit a book and/or my IPad! Thanks!

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  3. This book is on my tbr list, but I'm enjoying seeing some highlights ahead of time. When we're wild readers, it really can be too easy to assume everyone else (of course!) has the same habits:>)

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    1. There are many parts that you will like, too, Laura, like choosing to share some poets for reading. The book is full of important things that can be accomplished with students' reading habits-something we should all be aware of.

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  4. We were thinking alike on the explicit teaching to students of what a Wild Reader is! It's so easy to assume they come to reading the same way we do, but they don't!
    I agree with your comment you made to me - I do think there are more kids than we know who miss out on being read aloud to... I try to do some of that during the day in my very small groups, but it's amazing how little time there is at school, even :( I had one boy this year whose mother pushed him to read Harry Potter, Roll of Thunder, etc. He was a low performing 3rd grader. I tried talking to them about reading those books TO him, but my plea fell upon deaf ears. Disheartening. Just have to keep working at it!

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    1. Your story is sad. I used to share with parents (I taught middle school aged students) that my daughter & I read to each other well into high school. They just looked at me like well, you're a teacher. But what I wanted to tell them was that I was first a reader. Thanks, Michele, maybe we can find a way!

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  5. Linda,
    Your comment about teachers needing to question their beliefs is spot-on! During Nerd Camp, Jen Dwyer tweeted "If our traditions are not helping students grow, we need to get rid of them." I think conversations like CyberPD help us to question what we're doing and ask ourselves what more we can do to help foster reading lives. Thank you for adding your insight this week!

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    1. You're welcome, Laura. I've taught many years, & each year tweak according to need of the students. Thank you for hosting, & for sharing this tweet!

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  6. I so agree with you about the need for direct instruction about the habits of wild reading. My own reading behaviors were cultivated over a period of time and are so intuitive, that I appreciate Donalyn's injunction to step back a bit, examine those behaviors, and teach about them. Wild reading is not, after all, something innate but a habit we learn and a habit we are taught to appreciate/value. Love the bit about Dr. Zhivago!

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    1. I will share this about specifically teaching with all my teachers for sure, Tara. I is an eye-opener for me, too. I think I did talk about it some, but never explicitly. I'm glad to hear you agree!

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  7. Linda,
    I'm so glad you are joining in this conversation! You have so much to offer! I strongly connected to carefully handling our developing readers (and all the info on p.10) because these are the students I work with daily. "Developing readers need more reading, not less." So rethinking the schedule is essential to their success and more PD for classroom teachers to capitalize on the time during the literacy block. I worry that in some classrooms independent reading is not happening or conferring or talking about reading behaviors, habits, and preferences. I wonder "What's their bottom line?" (question/quote from chapter 3!) Lots more conversations to have! And not only do teachers need to be reflective, but so do students. I love your thoughts about creating that reading self-awareness -- for students to independently own their reading and learning!

    Thanks for joining in Linda! Enjoy your wild reading of that new book!
    Michelle

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    1. Thanks Michelle. Sometimes I think it would be terrific to create a group of all the ela or lit coaches to discuss the challenges you're mentioning. I will be asking those questions this year, hoping for some good conversations. Good luck on your changes in helping those special readers, too!

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  8. This comment is from Julieanne-mistakenly deleted: Linda,
    I just fell into these posts about Reading in the Wild. I read it last year and it changed a lot in my room. Everything I tried worked beautifully. The book drawings were looked forward to. It was an incentive to be there on Friday when I did them. The 40 book challenge was also wonderful. Most students exceeded the goal.
    What you bring up about explicit teaching of Wild Reading and edge reading I need to look seriously at. The more I think about it the more I believe that edge reading is a big key to wild reading. Hadn't put this together before. Ah, the value of reflecting on reading as a group. Love this.

    Thanks Julieanne, I do think explicit teaching is important. We make too many assumptions about what students know, don't we?:

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  9. Linda,
    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on chapters 1 and 2 of "Reading in the Wild." The idea of explicitly teaching "wild reading habits" jumped out at me, too! I had never considered the fact that a student might need to be taught to carry a book with them wherever they go or make use of little bursts of time that pop up when they aren't expecting it to by digging into a good book. Chapter 1 was an eye-opening chapter, reminding me that kids need someone not just to model "wild reading" for them, but also to teach them how to be a wild reader! Thanks for your thoughts and insight!

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    1. It is the teaching of "how" that needs attention, I agree. Thanks, Laura.

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  10. Linda - I'm heading to first grade this year, and your discussion about independent habits keeps swirling in my head. I'm hoping to show and model "wild reading" behavior and keep my new readers from getting discouraged. I will work hard to build a reading culture from day one (when parents come, too). Thanks for some great insight!

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    1. Thank you, Chris. I work with all ages of students, so hope you'll touch base with me to share what you're doing & how it's going. Exciting to think about, isn't it?

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Having a conversation is a good thing!