Challenge #13: Trust yourself and keep growing all year long.

Challenge #13: Trust yourself and keep growing all year long.  Cultivating a community of readers is a year long labor of love. It starts before you ever even meet this year’s students and doesn’t end until the last good-byes in May or June.

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“There is not one right or wrong way to do this work. So loosen up,

have some fun, and when in doubt trust your instincts

to follow your students.”

-Kari Yates & Christina Nosek

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We’re delighted you decided to be part of this challenge. 

We hope the challenges we posed have affirmed many of the things you’re already working so hard to do, given you some ideas of how to refine others, and maybe planted a few ideas about ways you might stretch yourself in the weeks and months ahead. 

The thirteen challenges together are meant to help you lay the foundation for a building a vibrant community of readers this year. Of course each of these ideas is simply a starting point. The real trick is to keep your courage and your energy high throughout the entire school year, as you work to help readers thrive, not only as individuals, but as true members of a community of readers. 

And it’s probably no secret that we believe one of the best ways to do that is to spend time every day conferring with readers. Each time your students set out with their self-selected texts for independent treading, we hope you’ll set out with your conferring tools, pulling up alongside each of them in partnership, committing to to both know and nurture them as readers and as people. By trusting your your students to lead you, we believe you’ll grow a thriving community of readers- one one child, one moment at a time, one conversation at a time.

Embrace the messiness of choice. Commit to love every child in your class. Trust your students to lead. Trust yourself to respond.  Engage in self-care. 

We think we can hear the children coming… 

It’s time to go and get books in their hands!

-Kari and Christina

 

All Challenges in the Series

Challenge #1: Make a Pledge to Nurture Self-selected Independent Reading Every Day 

Challenge #2: Make sure your classroom library is in tiptop shape, well-stocked, well-organized, accessible, and appealing

Challenge #3: Prepare displays, table baskets, book shelves, or stacks of enticing books.

Challenge #4: Make a Plan for Student Storage and Management of Self-selected Texts

Challenge #5: Start Taking Note of the Authentic Ways You Respond to Your Own Reading

Challenge #6: Start Creating a Thoughtful Stack of Books You Can’t Wait to Read Aloud to Your Students

Challenge #7: Make a List of Books you Want to Highlight Through Book Talks in the First Month of School 

Challenge #8: Envision the ways you will encourage and nurture interactions within your community of readers

Challenge #9: Get organized for conferring!

Challenge #10: Select and prepare note taking tools for conferring

Challenge #11: Identify 3- 5 book finding strategies that are essential for students in the ages and stages you work with

Challenge #12: Map out 3-5 ways you want to encourage healthy habits beyond the school day

Challenge #12: Map out 3-4 ways you want to encourage healthy reading habits beyond the school day.

Challenge #12: Map out 3-5 ways you want to encourage healthy habits beyond the school day. Make plans for how you will encourage wide, high volume reading inside and outside the classroom this year, encouraging students to set goals, make plans, reflect, and adjust. 

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“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.”

-Aristotle

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

An intentional focus on healthy habits is a commitment to empower students to take charge of their own reading lives, learning to make choices, design plans, and set goals that will help them develop and sustain a habit of joyful and purposeful reading throughout their lifetimes. Continue reading “Challenge #12: Map out 3-4 ways you want to encourage healthy reading habits beyond the school day.”

Challenge #11: Identify 3- 5 book finding strategies that are essential to teach.

Challenge #11: Identify 3- 5 book finding strategies that are essential for students in the ages and stages you work with. Map out a quick plan for how you you might model each of them for your students in the early days of the school year. 

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“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”   -JK Rowling

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

To cultivate a thriving community of readers one of our first priorities is to nurture each readers ability to find one book after another.

Before readers can settle into engaged and purposeful reading, they must find their way to texts that they can and want to read.  When we commit to intentionally support book choice we are committing to helping readers learn to consistently find texts that lead to high levels of engagement.  Continue reading “Challenge #11: Identify 3- 5 book finding strategies that are essential to teach.”

Challenge #10: Select a tool for taking notes while you confer.

Challenge #10: Select a tool for taking notes while you confer. A commitment to confer is a commitment to responsive teaching. Yet, time is short, so if you want to get the best return on your investment of this time spent conferring, then you’ll want to set yourself up with some sort of system for taking notes while you confer. Today’s challenge is about taking time select and prepare a note taking tool so you’re ready to capture your observations about readers from the first day of the school year. 

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We confer because we believe it is the best way to both know and nurture readers. We take notes because it allows us to hold onto and come back the ongoing wonderings, insights, and inklings that pop up in our conversations with readers, helping us better understand them and plan for the path ahead.

Yates and Nosek, 2018

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

Conferring is an investment in our students. It is an opportunity to better know them as people and as readers. Each time we pull up alongside a young reader we are saying, “I’m here to learn about you so I can find ways to offer my partnership.”  Yet much of the impact of our conferring can be lost or diminished if remembering the important bits from a conference is left solely to the mercy of memory. Learning to jot a few simple notes can help you intensify your impact by connecting one conference to the next, like links on a chain: past, present, and future. Continue reading “Challenge #10: Select a tool for taking notes while you confer.”

Challenge #9: Get organized for conferring.

Challenge #9: Get organized for conferring. Start out by treating yourself to a few new conferring materials that you’ll be excited to pick up and carry around every day of the school year. A colorful new clipboard? Some funky pens in your favorite colors, ink types, or styles? Perhaps some fun sticky notes to use as “leave behinds” with students. Then, organize your conferring materials in a place where they are easy to grab and go.

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                           “To make the most of every minute, you’ll want all your tools                                 and supplies at your fingertips and ready to go.”

-Yates and Nosek 

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

Getting organized for conferring, means getting organized to take your teaching on move. It means keeping a few simple, but critical supplies organized and ready to grab at a moment’s notice, so that what you need is at your fingertips when you need it.  Continue reading “Challenge #9: Get organized for conferring.”

Challenge #8 Envision the ways you will encourage and nurture interactions within the community of readers.

Challenge #8 Envision the ways you will encourage and nurture interactions within the community of readers. What are the different ways you can encourage, model, and cultivate authentic interactions between your students in the reading community?

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“We read to know that we are not alone.”  -C.S. Lewis

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

Books can provide us so much: a friend in a lonely moment, a shelter from a metaphorical storm, a window into other’s lives, and even a mirror to remind us that we are not walking this journey on our own. Books truly are a gift. Nothing is more special than being able to share that kind of gift with a friend. Continue reading “Challenge #8 Envision the ways you will encourage and nurture interactions within the community of readers.”

Challenge #7: Make a list of books you want to highlight through book talks in the first month of school.

Challenge #7: Make a list of books you want to highlight through book talks in the first month of school. Get yourself ready to offer a book talk or basket talk every day for the first few weeks of school week.  Of course you’ll adjust once you meet your students, but you can count on having a variety of readers and so you’ll want to be strategic in making sure you enthusiastically and systematically introduce a well rounded set of possibilities.

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“Strangers talking over piles of books do not remain strangers long.”

-Matthew Pearl

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

Book talks are quick informal conversations about books, meant to spread the joy and enthusiasm that one reader has about a book with other readers in an attempt to persuade them to read the book as well. In other words, book talks are moments dedicated to spreading book love around a particular text, series, author, or even classroom book basket. Continue reading “Challenge #7: Make a list of books you want to highlight through book talks in the first month of school.”

Challenge #6 Start creating a thoughtful stack of books you can’t wait to read aloud to your students.

Challenge #6: Start creating a thoughtful stack of books you can’t wait to read aloud to your students. Of course once you meet next year’s students you’ll naturally adjust, but now is your chance to make sure you’re never caught short of read aloud ideas.

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“More than all the academic benefits, the most important thing about reading aloud to a child is giving them the gift of the joy of reading.”  -Ernest Morrell

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Then Read Aloud

If you want kids to want to read,

Then read aloud to them.

If you want kids to fall crazy in love with great books,

Then read great books aloud to them.

If you want kids to view books as a way to learn about themselves,

Then read aloud books that mirror the soul.

Continue reading “Challenge #6 Start creating a thoughtful stack of books you can’t wait to read aloud to your students.”

Challenge #5: Start taking note of the authentic ways you respond to your own reading.

Challenge #5: Start taking note of the authentic ways you respond to your own reading. In order to support students in responding to texts in meaningful and authentic ways, we might start by reflecting on the ways we respond to texts as readers ourselves.  

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“Each of us is unduplicated, bringing to the text a unique personality, a unique set of expectations and hopes, a unique personal history. Consequently, what we make of the text will be unique.”   

-from Disrupting Thinking, pg. 27, by Kylene Beers & Bob Probst

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

To know and nurture readers in the direction of AUTHENTIC RESPONSE is to help them do the things that readers in the world outside of school naturally do in response to reading: think, feel, question, wonder, talk, and take action as growing readers and deep-thinking, contributing citizens of the world.

The most authentic responses to reading happen because we have been affected by what we’ve read, not because we are assigned to prove that we have read. So, today’s challenge is a simple one.  Let’s use what we notice about our own responses as readers to inform our interactions with readers. 

Take a moment to reflect on your own reading life. As adults with thriving reading lives, we find ourselves responding to reading in dozens of different ways. We laugh. We cry. We are affirmed by recognizing our own human struggles in a story. We are inspired by
the courage of others, and therefore may become, a bit braver as we as we respond to our own circumstances. Continue reading “Challenge #5: Start taking note of the authentic ways you respond to your own reading.”

Challenge #4: Make a plan for student storage & management of self-selected books.

Challenge #4: Make a plan for student storage and management of their self-selected books. Take some time to think through what you want students to have in their bags or boxes. How many texts? What kind of variety? What other tools? Set up a sample bag (box, baggie, stack) of your own to use for demonstration and modeling with your students.  

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“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”  -Benjamin Franklin

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

When it’s time for independent reading, the last thing you want to hear is, “I can’t find my books.” Or “I don’t have anything to read.”  To prevent this from ever happening, we’re advocates of helping students build and constantly curate a personal collection of books. This, of course, looks a little different depending on the age or stage of reading development of each student. But, the goal is to avoid the many pitfalls of having students choose just one book at a time and then try to find the next. Instead, we try to help students develop the skills and strategies for always having a generous supply of potential next reads waiting in the wings, whether it is a physical collection, or a written list of next reads. Continue reading “Challenge #4: Make a plan for student storage & management of self-selected books.”