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.

__________________________________________________________

“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

__________________________________________________________

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.  

__________________________________________________________

“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

__________________________________________________________

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.  

__________________________________________________________

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

__________________________________________________________

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.”

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

Challenge #3: Prepare displays, table baskets, book shelves, or stacks of enticing books for every age and stage that you work with. The purpose of this challenge is to ensure that every child comes face to face with a tantalizing collection of books from the minute they enter your classroom.  One of our favorite ways to do this is to have table baskets of an inviting variety of books sitting out from the first moment of the first day.

__________________________________________________________

     “Although I enjoy digging through the library to help students find books, my aim is            to help them develop self-confidence in choosing books for themselves.”   

-Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer

__________________________________________________________

How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

For many of our students, absolute free reign of the classroom library may be a bit overwhelming at first. Think about the last time you were at a restaurant with a massive menu- The Cheesecake Factory comes to mind. Their menu is over a dozen pages long! Choosing what to drink let alone an entire meal can be quite the task when presented with so many choices. Continue reading “Challenge #3: Prepare displays, table baskets, book shelves, or stacks of enticing books.”

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

Challenge #2: Make sure your classroom library is in tiptop shape, well-stocked, well-organized, accessible, and appealing. Then make a plan for how you will introduce the library to your students in the early days of school, gradually inviting them to explore particular baskets, shelves, or sections. 

__________________________________________________________

“A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.” -Henry Ward Beecher

__________________________________________________________

How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

Want to cultivate a true community of readers?  It all starts with books. And that means giving the book collection center stage in your classroom. Continue reading “Challenge #2: Make sure your classroom library is in tiptop shape: well-stocked, well-organized, accessible, and appealing.”

Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day.

Today we share the first of our challenges to help you cultivate a community of readers before the school year even starts. We’re so glad you’ve decided to come along. 

Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day. Decide when independent reading will happen in your classroom every single day. Put this time on your schedule. Make a commitment to yourself to honor it every day as sacred and non negotiable.

__________________________________________________________

“A child sitting in a quiet room with a good book isn’t a flashy or marketable teaching method. It just happens to be the only way anyone ever became a reader.”   -Nancie Atwell

__________________________________________________________

How can this action help to grow a community of readers?

Commitments drive actions. A commitment to build a true community of readers begins with a commitment to make time for self-selected reading each and every day of the coming school year. Continue reading “Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day.”

Cultivating a Community of Readers: 13 Things You Can Do Before the School Year Starts

The lazy days of summer are slipping away. The first day of school is just around the corner! And although we’re both working hard to soak up every last drop of these delightful summer days, we find our thoughts shifting more and more to the children about to enter our school doors and the ways we will prepare to greet them. We’re guessing the same is true for you. 

If you follow our work, it‘s no surprise to you that we believe cultivating a thriving community of readers through daily, high-volume, choice reading and conferring is one of the most important aspirations for all classroom teachers. Because of this, we’ve decided we’d like to offer a series of back to school challenges, providing our readers a few simple, but practical ways to do just that . . . start cultivating a community of readers before the school year even begins.  Continue reading “Cultivating a Community of Readers: 13 Things You Can Do Before the School Year Starts”