Happy Thursday, friends! Today marks the launch of the Reading in the Wild summer book study, and I am so excited to read about “Wild Reading” in all of our classrooms. One of the amazing things about blogs is the opportunity to sneak a peek at classrooms, ideas, and teachers from around the world. Plus, we have the opportunity to share about what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and envision what a “perfect” situation (or as perfect as you can get with kids) would look like! So, without further adieu, Our hosts for Chapter 1: Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read are Misty from Think, Wonder, Teach and Abby from Third Grade Bookworm.
Chapter 1 starts with Donalyn reflecting on her and her family’s reading habits. She explores the idea that wild readers are readers who choose to spend their time reading, having a reading community, and read widely among genres, but still show preference. In this chapter, you see Miller explore the idea that many classrooms are not developing wild readers. Prescribed reading programs, required reading minutes, the meticulous calculating of books-read can all act as reading deterrents.
I hate to admit it, but I can even see this in my classroom…With our 40 book goal and reading 20 minutes nightly, some students do think of reading as a chore, a laborious one at that. Throughout Reading in the Wild and The Book Whisperer, Miller shows us some ideas and techniques for targeting these students and shows how to cultivate wild readers in the classroom.
One of the turning points in my classroom was when I showed my students the research about reading. Why is reading important? (Please don’t worry, we talked about the intrinsic motivators for reading, but still some of my kids needed a tangible “why”) There is this fantastic table in the new Daily 5: Second Edition that I shared with my 5th graders, and they were shocked! I tell my kids all the time, “Words have power! The more time you spend reading, the more words you have access to, the larger your world becomes.” but I don’t think it became ‘real’ until I showed them this chart. The idea that reading 20 minutes a day (the prescribed number of minutes at our school) alone gives them access to 1.8 million words and puts them in the 90th percentile of 5th grade students BLOWS THEM AWAY! Honestly, it does me too. Every time I look at this chart, I say to myself, “YOU MUST MAKE MORE TIME FOR DAILY READING IN CLASS!!!!” Sidenote-If you teach math and reading, there is a GREAT lesson waiting to be taught in this chart. 😉
Outside of the documented “academic” benefits of reading, Donalyn offers that classrooms and teachers hold must of the responsibility for developing wild readers. Before we can expect students to be reading regularly at home, we must set the foundation. Miller offers that we must do two things in the classroom-
(1) provide opportunities for students to fall in love with reading
(2) productive opportunities for students to develop stamina
It seems like a natural progression from these two “Must Dos.” When students are enjoying reading and are able to sustain reading for extended periods of time, they are willing to engage in these habits in their daily lives at home – required or not….duh!
Now begs the question, how do we carve out time in our classroom schedules for independent reading? Friends, although I have ideas (and so does Donalyn Miller), I have no answers. In reality, my 50 minute reading classes don’t allow for much whole-class, drop-everything and read times. For the last 20 minutes of class, I meet with a small group of 6 students. While we’re meeting, my other 24 students are making a choice from their Reading Workshop boards, where independent reading is a choice. Students are expected to pick IR at least twice a week….not ideal. Knowing that my schedule is less than ideal for fostering wild readers, I’ve tried to maximize the “Edge Times” that Miller discusses. In class, we call it stealing small moments to read.
My questions for you, friends – How do you maximize reading time in your classroom and at your school? If you’re departmentalized, how do you sneak in reading into your 50 or 60 minute class period? Miller shares what she thinks schools must be doing in the reading classroom (fostering a love of reading and building stamina), is there anything you would add? Please speak up!
If you’re a blogger, awesome! Join us each week by linking up your posts/ideas. If you’re not a blogger, that’s great, too! You can read/follow and comment. We want to hear your advice, thoughts, and ideas for the classroom, too. The more teachers we have joining, the more amazing our classrooms will be this fall! Next week, we will be reading Chapter 1: Creating a Workshop Schedule that Works for You (pgs. 37-41). It’s a super short section, but one I’m really looking forward to. I always come away with fantastic ideas hearing how other teachers organize their workshop time!