The first book off my "To Be Read Tower"
(TBRT) is The Joy of Planning by @FrankiSibberson. I am a bit embarrassed to say I am just now reading this one. I've heard so many conversations around this book, but I just hadn't picked it up yet! (Thank goodness for #Nerdlution). Franki's thoughts never disappoint! I found the first shift in my thinking early in the book, right in the introduction. In the introduction Franki explains the beliefs that guide her mini lesson planning.
"Mini lessons are powerful routines that build student independence."With this belief Franki designs her lessons to develop independent readers. As I read Franki's beliefs about mini lessons I found myself nodding and noting my connections and thinking about what they might look like in my first grade mini lessons. But number 9 stopped me and stuck with me all week:
Mini lessons should be designed to teach the reader, not the book.I've heard teach the writer not the writing, but I had never thought about applying this philosophy to readers. In Franki's book, The Joy of Planning, she explains how applying this thinking to readers builds strong independent readers. When I paused to think about this I realized how many times I have taught books and not readers. Not only am I guilty of teaching books, but I am also guilty of leading readers to "discover" the RIGHT (my) answer. Not only am I teaching books, but I am also asking kids to think like an adult with years of reading experience who has reread the book with numerous groups of readers. Franki reminds us to keep our teaching focused on building independent readers, teaching strategies readers can use in all reading. If we believe our job is to develop strong and independent readers we need to give them strategies that they can use in other books, magazines, web articles and genres that will help them build understanding.
How can I expect young readers to think in the same way as an adult reader? I have read the books in my classroom with several groups of readers and participated in numerous conversations that contribute to my thinking. That's when I realized exactly what Frank was telling us. It isn't about helping kids "get the book." It is about teaching readers the strategies that will make them strong independent readers who think about their reading. It isn't about one right answer, it's about the process young reader uses to build meaning and understanding in reading. We can't hold our kids accountable for life experiences and conversations they are yet to have. As teachers of readers we are charged with showing students the strategies and possibilities for constructing meaning in their reading and allow them TIME to practice and do the work of a reader.
Shifts in Teaching~
This weeks reading focus was about when readers stop to think. With this teaching focus and new perspective on teaching readers at the front of my mind I found myself making the following shifts in my teaching ~
- Allowing more time for the kids to share THEIR thinking (less chatter from ME).
- Accepting all answers while thinking about the process the reader was using and where they need to go next.
- Listen with an open mind and no perceived answer.
The Joy of Planning is a book I will be looking back to again and again! Thank you Franki for sharing your joy and helping to open my eyes to new perspectives.