Saturday, June 21, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Dedicate Time to Reading {Chapter 1}

Oh how I love Donalyn Miller and her insight into how to better help my students learn how to become independent readers.  I read The Book Whisperer about 4 years ago and quickly implemented it in my classroom the following school year.  I was amazed at how much my students enjoyed reading and talking about their reading.  But only about a small handful of those students still read on their own and come chat in the hallway with me about their recent favorite reads.

So, thankfully, Reading in the Wild is going to save the day!  Sure, I've only read the first chapter, but I already feel much better about reaching those corners I couldn't reach before.  In this book, Donalyn starts to address how to make sure students read in the "wild" or outside of the classroom away from their teacher and classroom environment.

I have to admit...this is my first ever book study on the little ol' bloggy here, so I'm completely sure how I'm going to do this.  But I'd love to share the bits I loved the most and plan on implementing fully in my classroom.  And I would LOVE it if anyone who has or hasn't read the book for our study to chime in and share how you have already used the ideas from Chapter 1 in your classroom or how you plan on directly implementing it.  The more ideas the better!  Don't forget, there are quite a few other bloggers participating, so click on over using the Link-Up below.  Let's do this together!

Check out the quote below that started off the first section...isn't that just the truth?! Oh and expect a ton more quotes, since they truly are snippets of the information you need!

Whenever I'm having trouble figuring out where to start eloquently writing about my thoughts here on the bloggy, I turn to one of these...

Were you that kid?!  I totally was and would have loved to read all day if given the chance.  "Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Reading" helps you figure how to help your students begin thinking this way.

"Research indicates that time spent reading correlates positively with students' performance on standardized reading tests." (pg. 8)  I can see myself pulling this out if and when an administrator or someone else asks me why I am using instructional time to talk to kids about books I'm reading or giving students time to choose books from our library.  

So, Donalyn talks about edge times a lot in this chapter. Oh you know?....those moments when wild readers find a few seconds, minutes, or chunk of time to read a book whether it be during commercial breaks (I do this all the time!) or waiting for your friend to get off the airplane and head out to the curb where you are picking her up.  Those!  Wild readers don't think twice about this, but those who aren't wild tend to think they HAVE to read during those 25-30 minutes teachers always seem to require or ask of students.  

In that case...give students blank copies of this "My Reading Inventory" provided in the Appendix of the book.  Students soon see when they read and how often.  This will help you and the students to figure out how to carve out more time.  Voila!  I have to admit, the appendices are my favorite parts of Donalyn's books because I get to put them right into practice.

Fake Reading

This was my favorite part of Chapter 1!  I don't know about you, but fake reading is one of the number one issues I find blocking students from becoming wild readers in my classroom (I work in an urban at-risk area).  No one at home really models reading for students and they only tell their kids to read when a teacher assigns those lovely reading logs.  

Fake reading and reading avoidance are honestly the reason why I fell out of using everything I successfully implemented in my room for 2 years this past year.  I didn't know how to get past what I can now call fake reading (thanks Donalyn!).  

The first day of school in our classroom library is a chaotic moment, but everyone is very enthusiastic about going through the shelves, baskets, and finding their newest discovery in the pages of a book. But soon after, I disocver those fake readers that I haven't known how to help in the past.

I hope you love the observation ideas and form Donalyn provided as much as I do!  I can't wait to get back in my classroom to start observing students I notice exhibiting the signs of fake reading and reading avoidance:
  • finishes few books or finishes books too quickly (this is #1 in my classroom)
  • abandons books often (definitely #2)
  • conducts personal errands during reading time 
  • fidgets or talks a lot
  • rarely has a book to read
  • acts like a wild reader
So, observe these students (you'll have to read Chapter 1 to really get a grasp at how Donalyn recommends to do this) and then use your notes to confer with those students independently.  

Once you can pin down the habits of these fake readers and you chat with them, jump in and recommend books for them, continue modeling reading behaviors, help them become part of the reading community.  Donalyn's story from her classroom revolving around Nathan will truly help you get a grasp of how to handle it in your own room.  As I was reading, it was super easy for me to visualize the exact students from the past couple years who I could have helped by using this form and her tips.  

When I first read The Book Whisperer, I signed my students up for Goodreads accounts.  It really helped us all communicate about books we were reading.  Several of my students used it regularly and a few even continued using after they moved on to 6th grade.  But it has died off now and I don't see any of them on it anymore.  But with technology picking up, Donalyn explains how she uses Edmodo to have her kids keep up with their reading community.  Score!!  I am definitely going to try this as we do have iPads on our campus and a couple iMacs in our classroom.  Definitely check out the last part of Chapter 1 to read more.  

Another suggestion she gives is using Status of the Class, especially at the beginning of the year and when you return from long breaks.  Here's a look at the form she uses and provides in the Appendix.  

I hope I've piqued your curiosity to buy and read Reading in the Wild and/or to become a part of our book study.  Feel free to ask questions and jump in the conversation here on my blog below in the comments.  Or, click on the Linky below to check out all the other hosts' blogs.  The more the merrier!!

See you back here for part 2 of chapter 1 on June 26th!