Friday, July 11, 2014

Reading in the Wild" Cyber PD Chapter 1 & 2

A little over month ago I heard about this #CyberPD that was going to take place. It sounded exciting. I had already heard so much about Donalyn's Reading in the Wild that I did not need much convincing. I ordered the book. It came.

Then came #nErDcampMI where Donalyn was the keynote speaker on Monday.

Need I say more? I now had to read her book!

Chapter 1

As I was reading chapter 1 (and also chapter 2), I kept thinking about my dad. He along with my mother really modeled reading for me. My father only went to school for five years, but every morning he would sit and read the newspaper. So I grew up reading while sitting on his lap. Later on, we would divide the paper into sections where I would get the comics first. My dad really incorporated reading into his daily life. He knew about so many things because he read the newspaper.

Donalyn talks about when students read daily, they "practice living like readers" (9). She further talks about how "students need to connect with other readers and participate in a reading culture that values them" (9). How can I make this happen in my classroom and in my small group teaching sessions?

  • I need to give students time to read in class, Translate this into giving students more time to read in class, and do it regularly
  • Confer with students regularly and help students set reading goals
  • Encourage students to monitor their progress as a reader --> maybe there is a new bulletin board or display coming to my new classroom
  • Daily note taking during conferences (28)
    • This will also help me to determine if a student is fake reading or avoiding reading altogether
  • Encourage wild and varied reading despite our AR requirements

I am not sure how all these new ideas will look like in September, but these are goals for me to work during this summer. Get my Evernote ready to record my conferences and daily notes is a high priority for me!

Chapter 2

"Students who cannot successfully choose texts that meet their personal and academic reading goals fail to develop a vital skill that all wild readers possess" (47).

This is a big problem with my English as a Second Language students. The older students want to be like everyone else and choose big books. They want to be seen carrying the same books as others in their class. They cannot, however, read these books.
How do I as their teacher guide them to the books that would be a good match for them? How do I develop this skill in my students to self select books that are good for them personally and academically?

I definitely don't have all the answers yet, but I am thinking about organizing my classroom library a little differently. Of course, I am always looking for books where the content and reading level would be appropriate for my students population. I have tried audio books, but students are not interested in them. Perhaps when (and if) we get iPads into our classrooms, students would think it cool to listen to books again.

My second big take home from this chapter is the read alouds. I have always done this with the younger students, but with my high school students I did this a few years ago, but then came the new requirements. I need to get back to reading aloud. I need to make time for this.

Donalyn talks about memories that we have with read alouds. I have great memories of my parents reading to me as a child, and reading with my daughter. Even today at my small group, we often read a selection out loud to everyone. So many of my life's great moments have to do with read alouds. I need to teach my students how to build these memories (whether they have had examples at home or not).

I think that being steadfast in all that I am planning to do will create better results. I think I can combine the technology standard with book commercials. Perhaps newscasts about important book awards or new releases (oral language practice combined with technology). I need to be mindful of the actions that I take so that they do not become just another "thing" to do. I need to keep in mind that the goal is to foster wild reading in our whole school not just in my classroom.


  1. Jaana,

    First of all, I'm so glad that you are joining in the conversations! And what an experience to hear Donalyn speak and then read her book!

    I think conferring for me is always a goal ... and I feel like I fail all the time because of time! And then the daily note taking is lacking as well.

    Also, Donalyn shared so much about how students need to reflect more on their reading, especially to become independent wild readers. For the developing readers that I work with, this will be a challenge, but I think it is so important to walk through the reflective motions, model, practice, model some more! Same goes for selecting books to read. I have the same struggles, but I think there were so many great mini-lessons and conversation starters shared in the book that will help my students in choosing those good fit books. I have been known to hand over a book, but I need to implement the preview stacks.

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

    1. Michelle, I think I need to be very purposeful even with my younger ELLs when sharing about books. They need a great start as well.

  2. I think having kids self-select books that aren't at a good level for them is a big problem. What new improvements are you thinking of making to your classroom library to help with this? I'd be interested to learn from you! I won't have my own classroom library for a little while, but I am trying to think of the best ways to teach my students to self-select level-appropriate books. I like the idea of book commercials to help with this...and love your thought about integrating technology with that! I'm realizing more and more that I really need to be continually familiarizing myself with books that would be good suggestions to give my students!

    1. Laura, I think I need to group my books better. Not sure exactly how..... That might be a different post once I get into my new classroom in August. I'll keep you posted!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please stop by again.