Friday, December 6, 2013

A New Perspective in Reading Instruction~ #Nerdlution

#Nerdlution is underway and I am unwrapping new ways of thinking and CELEBRATING the shifts in my teaching already.  My #Nerdlution is to read from my tower of professional books and make shifts in my teaching. One week and one book, a celebration in it's self!

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. 


Jaana said...

I have to admit, I had not even heard of this book. I did not join #nerdlution, but am attempting to read professional books and a few young adult books in order to challenge myself with something new. Here is to more joy in your planning!

Leigh Anne said...

I was able to pull out many things from this book also. I like how you pulled together your thoughts and shift in thinking. Sometimes I just read the book and think I will remember all the tidbits I want to put into practice. Maybe I need to start doing this!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Great book - I especially loved the nonfiction part, where I learned so much.

Andrea said...

I love this book. I also love the way you really shifted your thinking about teaching reading. It sounds like this will be a profound change in the way you teach. Yay for books that push our thinking!

Terje said...

It's great that you didn't just collect ideas but put them in practice straight away. It will be interesting to hear/read about your readers and their thinking in few weeks.

Ramona said...

You're inspiring me to make time to read some professional books in my stack. Thanks for sharing your thinking with your Shifts in Thinking. Tara's comment about nonfiction makes me want to add this book to my wish list.

Julie Johnson said...

I am working on my TBR list too, Deb. When I posted a blog about my reading life with my students, I realized that I had started 5 different books, but hadn't finished any of them! I promised myself and my students that I'd finish them before I started anything new. :) I loved Franki's book. I used it a lot to start my year off this year. Your statement, "Less chatter from me" made me smile. It's something I have to remind myself all the be quiet and listen. Have a great week!