Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What I know to be true...

As a follow up to yesterday's blog entry, I spent some time last night reflecting on the time my students and I spend in readers' workshop every day in my classroom.  I've been doing this teaching gig for a long time...20 years...and I have seen the whole language movement and basals and guided reading and literature circles and--the list goes on.

What I know to be true is that children learn to read by reading.  Not doing worksheets.  Not being the "Artful Artist".  Not memorizing the 6 vocabulary words magically woven into the story.  Students learn to read by reading, and it is our job to help students unlock that special magic that allows them to read for joy and understanding.  Students need to learn to select books they love...to sustain reading for extended periods of time...to talk about books with others...and to really think about what they read.  I think many of us entered the field of teaching because we "get" that!  We derive pleasure from text and thinking deeply.  It has become painfully obvious to me over the years, that this is not a natural "unfolding" for many students; they need a coach to help take them on this journey.  We need to sit together with kids on the floor up to our eyeballs among piles of books to help them find those books that are just right fits for them...books that will keep them moving forward toward deeper understanding of text.  It may not happen without us.

If you aren't familiar with the readers' workshop model, I challenge you to spend some time digging in to the topic...I can honestly say this deeply personal connection to students and readers changes lives--for teachers and students.

If anyone is interested in seeing one way I help keep track of what my students are reading, I have posted my reading workshop management system in my store...I would be happy to explain what I do in more detail to anyone who is interested.  What do YOU know to be true about reading?




3 comments:

  1. I spent 12 years running our Primary Library before I moved into the classroom - 12 wonderful years of helping children find books to read that they would love. Naturally I read practically all of them first :) This year I have a class of non-readers and it is challenging to help them find books they like. We're working on it :) The other day I spread Christmas and holiday books all over the carpet and told them all to choose one. Within minutes the entire class, myself included, were engrossed. It was one of those moments in teaching that make it all worthwhile :)

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    1. Love it! Those are the moments that make it so fun! :)

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  2. I know that by monitoring my students' independent reading carefully with the use of reading logs and reading conferences, I can guide students in the direction of books I know they will love. And that by having my classroom library stocked with tons of those types of books, I just might be able to create some lifelong readers.

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