Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chapter three - The Book Whisperer

     The cornerstone!  I love it!  Miller says that reading is not an add-on to class, it is the cornerstone.  It feeds everything you do in class.  Teachers must make this become a daily habit. 

"No matter how long students spend engaged in direct reading instruction, without time to apply what they learn in the context of real reading events, student will never build capacity as readers. . . Students need time to read and time to be readers."

     My problem early on in my career was that I thought for our reading segment of the day, every second had to be filled - I planned centers, I made worksheets, I taught lengthy lessons.  Did we read?  I am ashamed to say not so much.  I did not provide them time for what was important - to use what we learned.  Apparently in my innocence, I thought if I taught the lessons, they would run home and use them.  Oh my.  Nowadays, I still have lessons and yes there is that occasional skill sheet, but the majority of our time is spent reading.  As they silently read, I go around and will sit down beside them (floor or wherever) and tap them on the shoulder.  This is our signal for them to start reading quietly out loud.  That way we can talk about their reading and I get a chance to hear them read.  When I leave, they go back to silence.  It is a system that has worked for me.
     I love the ideas Miller gives us for carving out time to allow for reading.  When they go to places where they have to stand in line - like picture day - they take a book.  They immediately pull out a book whenever their class is interrupted (phone or visitor).  Also, cutting out the "morning work" and making that a reading time.  That I love!  Saves paper.  Saves time we would spend going over it.  Encourages quiet reading.  Super!  Perhaps if there are things you have been doing for morning drills, you could cut them to one or two days a week.  Or embed those things into lesson (which we probably do anyway).
    This past year I was so blessed with a group that fell in love with books and reading, they would beg for extra time to read.  When they finished work, those books came out.  I know it isn't always so, but like I said, I felt blessed. 
     She talks about creating a reading environment.  While we all would like a cozy space for students to read, it isn't always possible.  And, as she said, a beanbag doesn't make a child become a better reader.  As I think about my room this year, I have lots of awesome plans.  I also know some of them will be impossible.  I want a couch.  I need more pillows.  You know how it is.  We want a warm and inviting space for our kiddos.  I may or may not have those things.  I will have a reading "attitude" in my room and that will take care of all of the other desires.
    Thank you for stopping in.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Have a great week!

No comments:

Post a Comment