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:
"Literate conversations with peers (as little as ten minutes a day) improve students' reading motivation, comprehension, and test scores." (Cazden, 1988; Nystrand, 2006)
A few parts I enjoyed reading in Chapter One:
- 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.