Sunday, January 20, 2013

Do We Honor Authentic Book Choice?~The Book Whisper Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, Reflection # 2

Have you ever been sitting with a group discussing a book and as you listen you begin to wonder, did we read the same book? Isn't it fascinating to hear the variety of thoughts derived from one text? I find this sharing of ideas is what makes reading so interesting! Then, taking these thoughts and connecting them to your life, taking away new perspectives that speak directly to you is what makes reading meaningful.

As I read The Book Whisperer I find myself bursting with ideas! New opportunities I want to provide for my students, connections to current practices in our classroom and techniques to enhance these practices.
In this post I want to share my inspirations and affirmations from chapter 2.

Donalyn ends her chapter with these words~
Students must believe that they can read and that reading is worth doing well. We have to build a community that embraces every student and provides acceptance and encouragement no matter where the students are on the reading curve. 
These words spoke volumes to me, as I shared in a previous post I haven't always enjoyed reading. It wasn't until I discovered the magic of thinking and talking about books with others that I learned to appreciate the opportunities of reading. I truly want my first graders to experience the wonder of reading, to develop a fascination and love of reading that will last a lifetime.
I want my kids to see reading, as this is just what we do, it's not homework and it's enjoyable!

Donalyn shares her practice of allowing students to self select their reading as a way to "empower and encourage" them as readers. Student book selection is also a practice in our classroom. (For more information on book choice see Cathy's post at Reflect and Refine.)  Each day students choose a book from our classroom library (my personal books, books from the public library, and books provided by the district) to take home, read and share with their family. This practice sets the expectation that we read everyday, it's just what we do and your reading is your choice. Donalyn sets this style of reading practice to encourage readers, I set this practice to enable kids discover the love of reading from an early age.

This method of encouraging and building readers has offered a bit of a challenge for me this year, not so much what is going out of the room, but what the kids are bringing into the room! My kids have personal bookshelves on Shelfari, they browse their friend's shelves and they request to borrow books! I love watching the books coming out of book bags and landing in the hands of a friend! Didn't I say this is the beauty of reading? So why is this a challenge?

The books coming in are authentic choices of the readers in our class, (not the books I choose to make available). They're the books the kids would choose at the bookstore, book fairs, libraries, and they're the books laying around the house. These are books I have no schema for, books and I need to learn, these are the books my readers want to read, these are the books that motivate my readers- Star Wars, Ninjago, Fairies, and Ponies.

To embrace book selection on this level I will have to learn these books, I will have to expand my reading diet and accept these texts in our workshop. As I watched A and G dive into the the  Lego Lego Ninjago: Character Encyclopedia for the third day I knew this was where I would begin my journey. I sat and listened to the boys as they compared two Ninjago's each sharing evidence of their thinking right in the book and from various places within the book. The boys moved easily through the book locating information asking questions, making inferences and building new ideas. I asked the boys a questions and G turned to the table of contents and asked A "Do you think that's on page 12 or 25?"

It was clear these books have value in the classroom, the kids are learning from them, they doing the work of a reader. Now it's my turn to be the student and learn these new genres.


Kimberley said...

I loved reading about your thinking and so value how much you reflect on where the children take their learning. Thank you for sharing.

First in Maine

debf said...

It's always interesting to see where young minds will guide our teaching! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment! You brightened my day!

Cathy said...

Looking at the Shelfari pages of your first graders has had me thinking a lot about the book choices available in our classroom. Ninjago has been a popular book in our classroom as well. Like you, I feel like I need to invest some time studying these new books to learn more about their possibilities for our classroom.

Glad you'll be leading the way.

debf said...

It seems the kids are leading the, (way once again)! They seem to know just what they need. Now it's our turn to rediscover their world!
There's always another perspective to welcome!