Trusting Readers: Powerful Practices for Independent Readers

by Mary Howard

On 6/10/21, we welcomed first-time #G2Great guests Dr. Jennifer Scoggin and Hannah Schneewind to engage in twitter-style dialogue around their book, Trusting Readers: Powerful Practices for Independent Reading (2021 Heinemann). Their shared belief in ‘trusting readers’ is not simply two colorful words on the cover and lovingly described in chapter after chapter. Trusting Readers and how we might bring those words to life is the very heart and soul of an amazing trust-filled collaboration. 

Jen and Hannah emphasize this central trust theme in a quote we shared in our chat:

As I began to reflect on this post and the book that inspired it, I found myself pausing to ponder their heart and soul using the word “TRUST”. As I often do, I turned to the dictionary where I found two meanings that worked beautifully in concert along with several descriptors.

These ‘trust’ references made perfect sense in the context of Trusting Readers. After all, we can’t claim that we truly trust readers unless we can demonstrate unwavering belief that children deserve and need our trust and the freedom to put that trust into action as we create a relationship of mutual ‘trust and respect’. We willingly embrace our responsibility to demonstrate trust for our children by offering opportunities that matter where it matters most – in the company of the very readers we claim to trust. 

Although these dictionary references seemed fitting, the heart and soul I felt as I read Trusting Readers from cover to cover was missing. I quickly turned back to Jen and Hannah for that missing connection. It didn’t take long to find the heart and soul that the dictionary didn’t quite do justice. In their introduction on page xv, Jen and Hannah write an opening invitation to teachers:

Notice that Jen and Hannah are speaking directly to educators here. While every word is essential, the word POSSIBILITY looms large. They ask us to see the POSSIBILITY that surrounds us when we trust our readers as we also trust ourselves to make trust-worthy day-to-day decisions in the name of kids. The word POSSIBILITY appeared in varied forms across the book, lifting its impact even higher. Their gentle words of flexible advice with powerful practices for independent reading oozed POSSIBILITY for trusting readers and ourselves as we seek to design learning experiences that will celebrate us both. 

Already knowing the deep trust Jen and Hannah demonstrate for us across their book, the tweet below caught my attention two weeks before our chat. After Fran McVeigh complimented their Classroom Indicators for Engagement they describe “as clearly visible and observable” on pages 54-55 of Trusting Readers, they wrote:

We always ask our #G2Great authors to reflect on three questions to gain insight into their thinking. Their reflections on our first question offered a wonderful peek into their shifting purpose during writing informed by student stories: 

What motivated you to write this book? What impact did you hope that it would have in the professional world?

Our original intention in writing this book was to make conferring with readers easier.  During our time in schools, we noticed that conferring is often a missing piece of classroom practice.  Our goal was to come up with a framework that would simplify it while also making it impactful.  After delving deeply into the research and studying our own conferring, we realized the truth: Conferring is hard, especially when as a teacher you are trying to do and say everything “right.”  

Instead of making it “easier,” we let go of preconceived notions of what conferring should be and opened ourselves up to listen closely to students tell the stories of themselves as readers.  Instead of having conferring be about waiting for the student to make a mistake so we can teach them a strategy to correct it, we emphasize the power of starting with strengths, honoring student identity and constructing relevant instructional pathways alongside students. We hope teachers implement the Cycle of Conferring and see conferring with fresh eyes.

Jen and Hannah open Trusting Readers by reflecting on their shared experiences in “supportive, trusting environments” where they were afforded the freedom to make instructional decisions that would enrich the lives of learners. As I read this, I thought about my own experiences in schools where I was a trusted professional and in those where I was seen as a compliant disseminator. My memories were a reminder that this trust is sorely missing in too many schools. While most teachers model trust for their children in spite of this sad reality, we add a level of challenge for designing a learning environment where children are seen as trusted co-creators if the level of professional trust that we know is critical is in short supply. This can become a breeding ground for mistrust and make it harder to draw from the instincts that impact trust in action.

Whenever I sit down to write a blog post based on the books of our guest authors, I seek to merge both the book and chat experience into my reflections. Having read the book before the chat, I keep it close as I revisit the chat wakelet to pull in new wisdom shared during the chat (albeit at a slower pace thanks to our ability to capture their wisdom in a chat artifact). I carefully mine the chat for author tweets that reinforce and extend their book wisdom. And I always manage to find it.

Let’s set the tweet stage first by celebrating the foundation of trust with examples:

As I gathered their tweets, I saw many connections between the book and chat with the sense of POSSIBILITY I felt in Trusting Readers. In honor of these findings, I’d like to share eight POINTS OF POSSIBILITY that were inspired by a combination of our chat and book wisdom with a collection of additional tweets added the end of this post. It is my hope that these twitter references from Jen and Hannah offer a starting point for making trust for our readers and those who teach them a shared reality: 

POINT OF POSSIBILITY #1: Hold Tight to Your Beliefs

POINT OF POSSIBILITY #2: Keep Students at the Center

POINT OF POSSIBILITY #3: Value Meaningful Intent

POINT OF POSSIBILITY #4: Celebrate Unwavering Love

POINT OF POSSIBILITY #5: Learn to Listen to Kids 

POINT OF POSSIBILITY #6: Highlight Strength-Based Data

POINT OF POSSIBILITY #7: Refute the Myth of Perfection

POINT OF POSSIBILITY #8: Embrace the Journey

With these POINTS OF POSSIBILITY in mind, let’s turn back to Jen and Hannah as they reflect on our second question: 

What are your BIG takeaways from your book that you hope teachers will embrace in their teaching practices?

We hope that teachers will embrace the invitation to reinvent Independent Reading. Try having your students set up the classroom library. Start the year with a whole class inquiry into reading engagement or identity instead of focusing on routines. (We love good routines– but do we have to start with them?) If you are new to conferring, jump in and do Discovery Conferences. Try the Cycle of Conferring with a handful of students before doing it with the entire class. As Debbie Miller says:  What is the best that can happen?

We also hope that teachers will embrace the challenge to stop using labels and deficit language. We have to retrain our brains to only ever speak about students in terms of strengths and next steps. This is harder than it seems, as it is easy to fall back on the shorthand of “struggler” and “low”. We have to actively resist the norm of labeling. All students deserve to be seen.  When we see them, their strengths, their interests and all the possibilities in front of them, teaching (and learning) is joyful.

MY CLOSING THOUGHTS

As I come to the close of this post, I am drawn back to the gift of Trusting Readers. Jen and Hannah don’t just tell us how to trust our readers and ourselves. Rather, they show us in page after glorious page by sharing examples, charts, conversations, and a generous array of research-based advice that invites teachers to trust their readers by trusting themselves in a spirit of two-sided trust that is empowering!

Trusting Readers offers teachers a haven for POSSIBILITY in safe spaces where trust abounds. Grounded in numerous examples that illuminate POSSIBILITY, Jen and Hannah ask us to celebrate all that our children bring to the literacy table and to trust the ever-changing knowledge and understandings that we bring to that table as we ensure that children are at the center of our every effort. This combined sense of trust amplifies POSSIBILITY as trust is viewed as a two-way proposition.

Since I opened this post by borrowing the POSSIBILITY that Jen and Hannah elevate for us all, I want to return full circle to the first quote from their introduction on page xv with the addition of three essential questions worthy of exploration: 

And THAT my friends, is where POSSIBILITY resides. If we are wise, we will take the time to sit very still so that we may notice those glimmers that are sure to beckon us on a moment-to-moment and day-to-day basis. It is within these GLIMMERS OF POSSIBILITY that trusting readers and ourselves can converge into brilliant living color view!

Jen and Hannah highlight this mutual trust in their response to our final question:

What is a message from the heart you would like for every teacher to keep in mind?

 Trust yourself and your students. It may require some bravery to disrupt the “but this is how we have always done” thinking in your school.  Hold onto your belief system and be ready to cite research that supports your decisions.  Make all parts of your literacy instruction relevant and joyful, and find like-minded colleagues with whom to collaborate.

Thank you, Jen and Hannah. We are so grateful to you for generously sharing your wisdom in your beautiful book and on our #G2Great chat. We are richer for both and we promise to keep our sights on Trust from our side and theirs in the coming year.

Tweet collection from Jen and Hannah that reinforce our Points of Possibility


LINKS

Identity and Why It Matters
 
Trusting Readers, Trusting Ourselves
 
Reflection and Discovery: The Power of Reading Identity in Independent Reading

#G2Great: Reflective Readers with Travis Crowder

By Fran McVeigh

Wakelet Link for All Tweets

On Thursday, January 23, 2020, Travis Crowder shared his wisdom with the #G2Great community around his new book, Reflective Readers: The Power of Reader’s Notebooks. The Wakelet link above will yield hours of clarity, direction and awareness of reading selves which are at the center of reflection. Because being REFLECTIVE is the heart of this book, this post begins with Travis and his reflections.

What motivated you to write this book? What impact did you hope that it would have in the professional world?

Since I began teaching, reflective thinking has been at the heart of what I do with students. As my instructional practice moved from traditional to a workshop approach, I found myself asking students often to look back at their reading and their reading lives and write what they noticed— new understandings, beliefs, feelings, and the changes they saw in themselves as readers and thinkers. Without even recognizing it, these ideas became the foundation for action research I was doing in my classroom.

I wrote this book to share my thinking with colleagues who are intrigued by the critical literacy work we do, as well as educators who are wanting to see shifts in students’ reading lives. I stand on mighty shoulders. My work with readers is heavily influenced by other educators who have learned alongside their students. I hope that teachers will take my ideas and place them beside their own. I don’t see my work as a replacement of the work teachers are already doing, or a program; instead, it’s a model of thought, one that has helped me move my readers forward. It has deepened their thinking, helping them see how they’ve grown in their personal reading lives. I hope that it will help the professional world look at reflection differently, and hopefully, engage us in a discourse that will ultimately make our students grow into confident and more capable readers. 

What are your BIG takeaways from your book that you hope teachers will embrace in their teaching practices?

First, it’s important to know that response and reflection are not synonymous. They serve different purposes in the life of a reader. Second, it’s important to have a balance of them in the classroom. When I started writing about reflection several years ago, I noticed a beautiful dance between response and reflection— the ebb and flow, how one naturally moves into the other. So often, writing about reading stops at response, and although responses to texts are paramount, reflective thinking is what moves kids into deeper analysis. Last, I want teachers to help students read better versions of themselves. We teach in a climate where kids have forgotten what it means to connect. But we can remind them of their sentience. With books and time to respond and reflect, we can help them see the models of the world that await them in stories. And over time, I truly believe they will impact their world. 

So what did we explore during the chat? Three key items emerged as I perused the Wakelet and revisited my notes. Those items are: clarity, direction, and reading selves. You know your own practices best. Will you begin with reflective work in your own reader’s notebook or with the work your students are doing in their readers’ notebooks?

Clarity

The chat began as does Reflective Readers with a discussion of what “reflection” is and isn’t including its relationship to “response”. Both response and reflection can include personal thoughts but it really depends upon the depth of the work which can be readily accessed in a student’s writing in a reader’s notebook. This notion of similarities and differences between response and reflection led me to making a personal T chart to compare the two in order to help me both define and understand them. A response is often tied directly to the surface facts or elements of the story, character, or plot lines. A reflection usually reveals more thinking that connects the text and the reader. As I explored this idea for several days (remembering that I see the questions in advance), I considered my past experiences and opened up my own reader’s notebook. Response, response, response. That is what seemed to be expected in many classes and in work that requires text evidence. Multiple choice tasks. Tasks with “right” answers. . . Those all led to responses. Reflection came in when I spent time digging into a specific topic/theme and compared texts or how I personally connected texts in novel ways. How does clarity of REFLECTION help you to deepen your own understanding?


Direction

Where does our reflection lead us? The direction of our thoughts depends on our reading, our texts, the time and space that we provide for reflection, and our goals and values. Reflection cannot be rushed. Reflection provides “the contour to our experiences, and forms the geography of our thinking.” (Crowder, T. Reflective Readers. p. 6) Students can document their own growth and change in their reflections as Travis so beautifully shares the frames in his portrait gallery of students. Do you want to up the game for students? Frame their work. Provide frames or mats to showcase the importance.

Reading Selves

What are the habits of readers? What are the most important habits of readers? Your values influence your answers. One inarguable habit would be that one needs to read and read a lot. Volume of reading matters. It may have a different effect at different stages in life, but reading is at the core of being a reader. But is reading a lot sufficient to be a reader? I would argue that it is NOT sufficient. Instead it is the reflective thinking that develops additional life-long reading habits.


Just as we began with thoughts from Travis and myself, the conclusion will circle back to Travis’s message from the heart and my final thoughts about Reflective Readers.

What is a message from the heart you would like for every teacher to keep in mind?

The professional text that is at the center of this chat is a culmination of my thinking over the past several years. It is not a program or prescription for readers; instead, it’s a way of thinking about kids and their reading lives. More than anything, this book is the story of my literacy work with young people. I value the stories they bring to the classroom, the things that make them who they are, and I want them to see reflection as part of their story— of their reading and their learning. Giving students opportunities to respond and reflect with tools like hashtags and Tweets give them another lens through which to see their reading. They aren’t the only tools, though. I’m confident that the things that you do in your classroom to help your students tell the story of their learning are brilliant. Placing them beside my thinking will only strengthen what you’re already doing. And placing my thinking beside yours will nudge my readers, too.

Is reflection only for school days? I think not because I believe reflection is a lifetime pursuit. That is why this topic and text has fascinated me. I have to both respond and reflect on my own reading before I can ask students or teachers to do the same. Our own practice with responses and reflections will guide our learning journey as we develop our own portrait galleries. When we value competent, confident readers for today and tomorrow, our students will develop into the reflective readers that we need!

Additional resources:

Benchmark PD Essentials: Reflective Readers: The Power of Reader’s Notebooks (Link)

Travis Crowder Blog (Link)

Twitter:  @teachermantrav

Fran’s T chart comparison of Response/Reflection . . . After Reflection

Fran’s T-chart that evolved with reflection on Clarity, Direction & Reading Selves

#G2Great Embracing Books As Our Strategic Intervention Heart & Soul

By Jenn Hayhurst

May 30, 2019, marked the arrival of Part 2 of our 5 part series, Rethinking Our Intervention as a Schoolwide All-Hands on Deck Imperative. We had an inspired conversation about how we might embrace books as our strategic intervention heart and soul. When teachers use excellent trade books as a centerpiece for a classroom intervention, they are rewarded with authentic reading experiences with children. Good books combined with responsive teaching is just what is needed to bridge student gaps.

What is it about that word, intervention? To me, it gives off this negative connotation that students need something overly complex when what they really need is good teaching. So when our #G2Great team thought about having a chat that focused on using books as an intervention tool, it just felt right. The #G2Great PLN also seemed to agree:

We refer to books as a strategic intervention heart and soul because connecting with books is life changing. Literacy changes who we are in very real ways by influencing what we think about and even who we aspire to become. When teachers know who their students are they have this immense power to put students in touch with books that will resonate and reflect their identities and values back to them. It may sound lofty but as I read these tweets I see that this is inherently true:

There is so much potential for growth if we were to make a commitment to embrace books as our strategic heart and soul. Think about it. An intervention program that is built on good books and thoughtful teachers is one to celebrate. Invest some time getting to know students, add in a teacher’s expansive knowledge of books, and now there is real potential. There is the potential not only to improve a child’s ability to read but also to shape the identity of the reader. I think that Lester Laminack and Katie Kelly say it best in their book, Reading to Make a Difference:

Teachers build their bridges for their students one book at a time. Truly, the most effective interventions are both elegant and simple. A teacher, a good book, and a student with an open mind can change the world. Believe it.

On a personal note, I’d like to welcome, Brent Gilson to our #G2Great team. Welcome, Brent! What was once only three dedicated teachers has grown into a bigger more vibrant team.

Reclaiming Independent Reading as a Professional Imperative

By Fran McVeigh

On September 6, 2018, the stars aligned, the chorus appeared from heaven, and the #G2Great chat was literally almost trending from the first minute because Independent Reading is huge, hot, and hard to say “no” to. It would have been easy for teachers and edu-friends to say, “I’m busy. I will catch this  topic later.” For many attendees, it was the first week with students back in school. For others, school has been in session for two, three or even four weeks. But our crowd was splendiferous and the learning was off the charts.  It was inevitable. The quotes for this chat included words of wisdom from such literacy greats as: Donalyn Miller, Stephanie Harvey, Annie Ward, Ellin Keene, Nancy Atwell, and Richard Allington.

But just as I was narrowing down my final selection of tweets for this blog post, ILA issued their “Children’s Rights to Read” (link) and I was captivated. 

Ten rights. Ten simple rights. Ten rights that highlight the need for access and equity. Ten rights that don’t use the word “Independent” but wouldn’t that just be a redundancy? The “Children’s Rights to Read” are, in truth, aimed at the 750 million people across the world that cannot read and write at a basic level. This notion of “Rights” inspired me to think about whether these ten rights are in place in ALL schools in the U.S. and I am saddened by the knowledge that we have no evidence that they are firmly established in every school building.

The positives in our chat were that I found the following concepts:  value, access, love, ubiquitous, equity and sustenance. In the explanations for each concept, please note the crosswalk for the match to the “Children’s Rights to Read” as well.

Value

When we value something, in our personal or professional lives, we make time for it. It gets priority scheduling. It’s not left to chance.  It’s never, “Well, if there is time left, we will do independent reading.”  Or my most hated because it also speaks to access, “When you get your work done, you can read independently.”  (GRRR!) The old Mathew Principle:  The rich keep getting richer while the poor continue to get poorer!  When independent reading is a priority, I often see it as a “settling in routine” where students enter the classroom and are expected to have their book out and be reading when the bell rings.  When independent reading is valued, it’s woven into the schedules and routines so tightly that students will beg for “just two more minutes so I can finish this chapter, PLEEEEASE!”

Value = establishing priorities for what matters

Match to Children’s Rights to Read: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Access 

Access is so multi-faceted that is difficult to pick a starting point.  The number one criteria for access is often touted as time. Is it perceived as a necessity for all students or a luxury?  That depends on the value of that time. Would any teacher say that Independent Reading was not important? Then schedule it first. In ink. Boldly. Confidently. After time, the next issue is texts (physical books, magazines, and digital resources including video and art).  Where does a teacher develop that classroom library? What about the new teacher with an empty room?  But broader than that: is there a classroom library in the science lab, math classroom, economics classroom, and more importantly in the office waiting area? Location of texts could be access, value or equity. Other aspects of access to consider may be more subtle. Access to time to talk about books. Access to a knowledgeable adult/teacher to conference with. Access to that next book on the To Be Read (TBR) stack or that long awaited book that just arrived from the publisher when there are NINE names ahead of yours on the waiting list. Access to books about people like you, your community, and your background. Access to books that interest you.  Access to new books that have recently been published. Access to conversations about the books with other kids in your class, your school, your state, or your country.

Access = choice of the right texts at the right time!

Match to Children’s Rights to Read: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Love 

A love or passion for reading begins at an early age. It is supported when we read aloud, read along with children, and listen to them read. That takes time and texts. It may begin at home or at school. How do we continually grow and nurture book love in our students? As parents, teachers, librarians, or administrators – those many roles that we have – what is our end goal for students?  Will their score on a summative state assessment be what the student takes away from their time in the classroom?  Or will it be the fact that you helped them fall into love with reading? You helped them explore their interests. You helped them find books and authors that opened whole new worlds. They grew. They changed. They lived their lives differently because of that new found love or passion for reading.

Love = an opportunity to change lives

Match to Children’s Rights to Read: 1, 3, 4, 5, 8

Ubiquitous

When something is ubiquitous, it is pervasive, worldwide or universal. The belief that Independent Reading is a mainstay of reading instruction is ubiquitous for teachers who have a goal of helping students get lost in that “just right” book.  Teachers who are readers. Teachers who love books. Teachers who know which titles are being published.  Those are the teachers who can connect students with books that will change their lives and put them on a path to continued reading.

Ubiquitous = a need to build lifelong, independent reading habits

Match to Children’s Rights to Read: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Equity

Equity in reading means that all students have the opportunity for Independent Reading.  It’s not “what you do when your work is done” because some students never do get their work done. It’s not “pull-out intervention” time. It’s not “pull-out for special education service minutes.”  Equity also means that everyone has access to texts at school and at home. Lack of wifi does not limit access to  digital texts. Students and parents are not expected to personally buy the books on the summer reading lists. Students who are primary caregivers in their homes are not judged when reading logs or notes to parents working multiple jobs simply forget! When equity and Independent Reading are both priorities, then it is a part of Tier 1 for every student. All students. Every Student!

Equity = zip codes do not determine learning

Match to Children’s Rights to Read: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sustenance

How important is reading?  That seems to go back to the value of reading. Is your view of reading that it is necessary for life?  Does reading nourish your mind, thinking and soul? Do you agree with Rudine Sims Bishop that texts are mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors? If yes, than having a reading life is a part of your required sustenance plan. Not a luxury.  Something that must be prioritized into a daily routine or schedule.

Sustenance = the power of “flow” to hook readers for life

Match to Children’s Rights to Read: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

So if you remember how an acronym works, these characteristics detailed above, Value, Access, Love, Ubiquitous, Equity and Sustenance spell out

VALUES.

Yes, it was a bit cheesy to use “Value” as the first concept.  But it’s important, critical, imperative! It all comes down to our professional values. What do we hold near and dear? What do we know is vital for our students? What does it take to create readers?  What does it take to create literate beings who continue to grow and learn once they leave our school halls?

If we value Independent Reading and make it a professional imperative, it will be a priority every day in every classroom. If we value Independent Reading and make it a professional imperative, time and money will be allocated to support it. If we value Independent Reading and make it a professional imperative, resources from discontinuing old antiquated bribes like AR can be re-purposed to support it (Thanks, Brent for that idea!). If we value Independent Reading and make it a professional imperative, students will love to read, will be able to read and will choose to be readers all their lives.

Just a quick reprise for “Children’s Rights to Read.”  Those 10 Rights above are huge.  Note that Value, Access, Ubiquitous, Equity and Sustenance connected to all 10. ALL 10! And there were a total of 55 connections out of a possible 60! 92%  means Independent Reading as a way to support Children’s Rights to Read is a Professional Imperative!




Curated Tweets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Additional Resources:

Wakelet – Link

Donalyn Miller – “I’ve Got Research, Yes, I do.  I’ve Got Research. How About You?”

ILA – “Making Independent Reading Work”

Scholastic – “The Joy and Power of Reading”

Kari Yates – Heinemann – “Five Ways to Reclaim Time for Independent Reading”

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell  – “On Why We Need Libraries and Librarians”

From Homewreck to Homeworth Reimagining Homework in the 21st Century

by, Jenn Hayhurst

Bloggers write to push the thinking of their readers. After reading, Harvey “Smokey” Daniels’ (@smokeylit Homewreck, as featured on  The Robb Review, the entire #G2Great team was inspired to explore ways to reimagine homework. On July 12, 2018, we invited educators to engage in a broader conversation about the role of homework and how we might make it more worthwhile in the 21st Century.

Homework in the 20th Century…

My third-grade teacher definitely believed in homework. Even though the school day was over, the far-reaching hand of my teacher knew no bounds. There I would sit, a little girl with curly hair, impossibly thick glasses, and a highly developed vocabulary, Monday – Thursday (mercifully Friday was my reprieve) with spelling lists, worksheets, and heavy textbooks – it was obligatory and there would be no negotiating. My mother, the saint that she was, would give me a snack, and let me leave Jeopardy on in the background to keep me “company” as I did my work.

Jeopardy is still on the air, and for that matter, homework hasn’t changed much either. So, I wonder if Alex Trebek is some other child’s wingman to a homework dilemma of today. Change can only happen if we are willing to discuss trying something new.

In a Word: Homework!

There were many words used to describe people’s positions on the subject of homework…

In Smokey Daniels post he writes,  “The greatest source of tears and heartbreak in our family, over all of our child-raising years, was homework.” and #G2Great educators all seem to agree! Our words used to describe homework were: useless, irresponsible, and ineffective. The way we’ve done homework in the past is not worthy of students’ time and energy. If we aspire to make homework worthy or, “homeworth”  we might alleviate frustration if turned homework into passion projects, built around inquiry and relationship building.

The Category Is...

“So, let’s start by changing the categories of what counts as homework. Then, let’s design a time that’s stress-free, that invites kids’ curiosity and choice, and that doesn’t start battles between parents and kids, ruin whole evenings, and sell more Kleenex.” – Smokey Daniels I

The best categories are ones that are self-selected and assigned by the students themselves. Reimagining homework means handing over the reins to students to pursue their interests and to stoke their curiosity. We can participate in this process and encourage their ownership and creativity if we involve everyone. That includes students, families, and colleagues. There would be a lot of moving parts but in the end, wouldn’t it be worth it to have happy, engaged children who wanted to continue learning outside of school? I believe it can be done.

I’ll Take Reimagining Homework for $1000

So, let’s join Smokey Daniels and  #ditchthehw! Together, we can reimagine a better way! We can start by sharing our great ideas. I am so grateful for @Kpteach5 because she did just that, and her tweet was a celebration!: She shared what she does to make homework more meaningful. She provides students with choice, structure, and opportunity:

As I think back to my third grade self, I wish I had a teacher like Ms. Picone, or any of the essteemed educators that participate in our #G2Great PLN. I would have been cooking with my mother, or reading to my younger brother. I might have been working with Dad in the garage building something. Perhaps I would have been singing with my sister, or sketching my dog.  It seems very fitting that for me, I will forever associate the words “homework” and “jeopardy” as one in the same:

Let’s do this better for our students.

Preventing Summer Slide: Flexing Our Summer Literacy Muscles

By Fran McVeighWhat does summer mean in your community?  Is it about freedom from school routines or is it about supports in place to help families maneuver the tricky days and nights when parents need to work and children have more freedom?  Our #G2Great chat on May 24, 2018 had both questions and answers for “Preventing Summer Slide” but also some cautionary reminders about remembering to meet the whole needs of children. “Summer Slide” is bigger than just literacy. In these days of declining school budgets and increasing demands, this may not seem feasible YET but let’s begin with some of those general considerations for increased collaboration and communication in your community. 

Have you considered these principles?

If your summer work is already planned, take a few minutes to think about the basic needs of the students in your community over the long summer break. Will they have adequate food, shelter and transportation? Will their basic physical needs be met? How do you know? What about their social-emotional needs? How will you know that your planned summer work is effective? What information will you be collecting from the participants and their families?

Preventing Summer Slide:  What will it take?

I found two major goals/processes in this week’s chat.  The first follows the research findings of Allington and McGill-Franzen. They found that providing books for students to read at home over the summer was both cheaper and more effective than summer school programs. (link) Ways to do that include:

  • Giving students books
  • Having school libraries open
  • Teachers who continue to have book conversations during the summer
  • Teachers loaning books
  • Groups that give books

Any and all of these actions allow students to continue reading, flexing their literacy muscles. With high levels of practice, just like in sports, students maintain their current levels of confidence and competence. Students who read, write, and talk about their passionate and/or pleasurable literacy work increase the likelihood of counteracting “summer slide”. If any of this work can also involve partnerships formed in the student’s own household, there is an even greater likelihood of maintaining or increasing skills over the summer when one or two hours per week are dedicated to shared literacy actions like a narrated photo book of fun and play during the summer!

A second goal or process advocated for totally changing our approach to summer work is evidenced by this tweet.

Would efforts be more effective if there was a deliberate plan to include the following components: community-based, culturally relevant, strength-based, family-centered and literacy-based in order to LAUNCH SUMMER LEARNING?

What would each of these elements look like?

Community-based

Capitalize on activities available through county parks and recreation offices, municipal music/arts/museum programs, and even explore “service options” with elderly housing units. Weekly bingo games with senior citizens can be a treat for students and seniors. Plan field trips to locations in the community. Set up a comprehensive schedule that builds on Red Cross swimming lessons or open gym sessions. Evidence of community-based efforts to promote literacy would include this sign posted in Gilmore City, IA and shared via @herz6kids.

Culturally relevant

Build relationships that cultivate strong culturally relevant interests and include teacher-student relationships that empower and motivate students. Check community calendars for meetings and events that provide cultural experiences. Promote peer teaching and learning relationships that may begin in books but further extend to face-to-face interactions.

Strength-based

Allow students to have choices in activities in terms of recreational activities and sports as well as reading, writing, speaking, listening, drama, and math activities. Build on what the students can do, want to do, and mirror the lives they see at home and in their neighborhood.

Family-centered

Build on strengths of the family by asking other members of their household to participate and respond to activities both at home and in the community. Create books of shared family stories and events. Encourage all family members to write about the same events from a different point of view. Collect recipes, songs, or poems to share with others.

Literacy-based

What if summer literacy-based work was about choice, wonder, passion, and not the same old routine from the school year?  The use of Wonderopolis or independent choice would be one source of promoting joyful self-exploration that helps develop life long readers and writers.

For further information about a successful summer launch and summer program, check out this tweet from Valinda Kimmel.

“Summer Slide” was first reported in 1906, and folks have been searching for solutions ever since.  There is NO, ONE single solution.  It’s a complicated problem with many solutions that will assist students in maintaining or growing reading, writing, and learning. Collaborative partnerships will be necessary in order to provide optimal learning environments for all students. Considering novel solutions that involve new learning environments and opportunities to explore personal choice and wonder to this century old problem will allow students to thrive and not fall prey to the “summer slide.”


Selected tweets that were the source of ideas for this blog post:


Additional Resources:

Wakelet archive for #G2Great chat – Link

Video – McAuliffe on YouTube (for parents) – Link

Allington- Summer Slide article   Link  

Pernille Ripp – “On Summer Checkouts” 

Valinda Kimmel – “3 Surefire Ways to Avoid the Summer Slide”  

NCTE Middleweb:

NOTES FROM THE NERDY BOOK CLUB Book Floods and Book Deserts

Donalyn Miller, Colby Sharp, Cindy Minnich, and Katherine Sokolowski

180 Days with Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle

By Fran McVeigh

What a night!  Before the chat began Paul Hankins suggested that our theme song might be Petty’s “Free Falling” and as it ended Colleen Cruz talked about re-reading the stream “…to bask in the glow of @pennykittle and @KellyGToGo.” Either celebration would be so appropriate for that hour in time. Less than ten minutes was all it took for #G2Great to trend in the top “3” due to the wisdom flying through the twittersphere so I knew narrowing down a focus for this post was going to be a challenge as Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle joined the #G2Great chat table for their first time on May 17, 2018 to discuss 180 Days:  Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents.

I first heard about this book last November at NCTE 17 from a panel presentation consisting of Nancy Atwell, Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle. The chair for the panel was Nancy’s daughter. Her introductions were fabulous. Each one was better than a five paragraph essay –  well constructed and so thought-provoking. I was mesmerized. I was entertained. I was so curious.

In that session Kelly and Penny shared the overview of their collaboration and I knew instantly that this was a book that I could not wait to get my hands on. But it wasn’t  just the content of their presentation.  I was completely awestruck by their behaviors.  When Nancy Atwell went to the podium, Kelly and Penny (seated on stage) took out their notebooks, poised to write and then did write throughout Nancy’s presentation.  I was so amazed by this that I tweeted out a picture that showed them, on stage, writing while Nancy was speaking. Then when it was time for their part of the presentation, it was no surprise that at times, they finished each other’s sentences . . . truly collaborative partners. Here’s the picture and a link to a brief description of their session.

Many may think this is a book only for secondary ELA teachers.

WRONG!

I would recommend this book to EVERY literacy coach, curriculum, and/or department chair in the district as well as every administrator.

Why?

Because the first half of the book deals totally with values and beliefs that define the decision-making process for teachers.  Elementary teachers can review it from the lenses of how they prioritize their own literacy instruction, coaching, and observation because the reading and writing standards are similar PK -12. Their work would be parallel to that of the secondary students and teachers. (Not all primary teachers will believe that this book is relevant, so don’t force them to read it!)

As the lead up to this chat, I wrote a blog post on Tuesday with many of the links listed at the end of this post. I also watched Twitter comments during the week, and then Brett Whitmarsh, (@HeinemanPub), posted this podcast the morning of the chat.  It was a read aloud by Kelly and Penny.  

A read aloud of text that I had read twice before.  

A read aloud that I have listened to twice.  

The depth of my knowledge after multiple readings and listenings cannot be measured objectively, but I can tell you that the “story” behind the text and my connections to the text have increased exponentially. I will probably listen once more as I continue composing this piece.  I didn’t annotate the text, I didn’t take copious notes. I really worked on “holding my ideas” across the text with some jots and post it flags as I “spied” on my own reading in hopes of finding the big ideas.

And then came the chat.

The two areas from their book title that continue to fascinate me are both “engagement” and “empowerment”. Do you know high school students? Do they routinely feel engaged? Do they routinely feel empowered? How does this play out in real life with the students that Kelly and Penny have in California and New Hampshire?

Engagement

How do students get to the “deep thinking that reflects intellectual growth”?  Allowing student choice is a critical element. How much choice? This is most evident in reading where Kelly and Penny propose that 50% of student reading is independent reading where students choose their own reading text. How does the “content” fit into a plan to give students choice?  This entire book is about answering: “How does it all fit in?”

When students are engaged, teachers  and students will be able to dig into deeper levels of understanding. Core beliefs found in their previous books, like Book Love, by Penny and Readicide by Kelly share foundational thinking for their literacy instruction but 180 Days: Two Teachers and their Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents  provides the nuts and bolts about what this really looks and sounds like in classrooms.  Then you will discover their ideas on how to accomplish it. This is simultaneously overlaid with the WHYs so that you can follow the thinking that drove all of Kelly and Penny’s decisions.   

If students have choice, some teachers believe it feels “loosey-goosey” and seems like “free falling” because the teacher cannot plan out the year during back to school workshop days.

Free falling.  

Falling without a net.  

But as  a teacher plans there is a need to keep a laser-like focus on the end goal for the year while also waiting to see the eyes of the students before outlining the year. Within this plan is the flexibility to add/change to meet the interests of students.  An example from this school year was a mini-unit that Kelly created, planned and ultimately shared after the Parkland shooting. (Mass Shooting Unit Link)

Tweets from Kelly and Penny that Support Engagement:

As I read back through the Wakelet, I identified three themes that I felt supported “Engagement” in our chat.  We will be hearing more about engagement in two weeks when we discuss Ellin Keene’s gorgeous new book, Engaging Children: Igniting a Drive for Deeper Learning, but for now the themes of Joy, Reading and Writing Lives, and Standards and Assessments from Kelly and Penny’s tweets support increased student engagement and helped me organize my thoughts.  Do note that I deliberately left in the number of retweets and likes so that you can see how the #G2Great chat members (and or other friends within the first 12 hours) responded to this wisdom.

Which tweets stand out in your mind?  

Which ones would you like to continue a conversation about?

Empowerment

Empowerment is the second promise from the authors. What does empowerment mean? Again, students who feel they have choice and voice in their daily lives will feel empowered as well as able to reach a higher level of engagement. The two elements are not easily separated. The curriculum allows students to strengthen their reading and writing skills. The daily framework for instruction allows students to be more successful with less “push” and “scaffolding” by the teacher. Knowing that half of their time during the year will be spent on self-selected books is empowering. Respecting students’ lives outside of school is also empowering for students as it reduces external stress in their lives.

The clearer the learning targets, the more efficient and effective the instruction becomes.  The clearer teachers are about their belief systems, the easier they can articulate the relevance to the students. And yet, truly empowering adolescents will require change in the actions and work of students as well as teacher’s roles.  Students will have the power to control their learning within the class. The teacher’s role will be reduced as students take the lead in discussions and book club work.  This is not work for the faint-hearted. Students will resist in the beginning.

WHY?

Because it is work!

Why does it matter?  

Because the WHY should be guiding all decisions!

Tweets from Kelly and Penny that Support Empowerment:

Specific tweets from Kelly and Penny that supported “Empowerment” seemed to fall into two categories:  Actions and Work of the Students and Teacher’s Roles. When students are empowered, there is no need for “fake” accountability systems. Students meeting in book groups with students across the country were interested in completing their work in order to be a part of the cross-country collaboration. Note particularly what one of Penny’s seniors said as reported in Penny’s first tweet below.

Which tweets stand out in your mind?  

Which ones would you like to continue a conversation about?

The chat revealed that Kelly and Penny originally began with 20 core beliefs and they did whittle it down to 10.  Their schedules provide for daily reading and writing. Kelly (from the book and a live PD session last week) has 10 minutes of reading and writing every day.  Time matters in terms of how it is used each day, as well as across the year and throughout the secondary careers of our students.

Time matters:

Just as I can tell you that a thousand seconds = 16 minutes,

a million seconds = 12 days,

a billion seconds equals 31 years,

and a trillion seconds equals 31,688 years.

Seconds do matter! A sense of urgency is needed!

Being responsive to our students does not mean employing a whip and timer for every time segment in class, but it does require that we pay attention to the balance of time and not waste precious minutes that take away from student application and transfer of reading and writing. At all grade levels.  With all students.

Those are non-negotiables.  The videos in the book are priceless. I remain impressed with the collaborative nature of this work.  The need to have another professional to discuss your ideas with, to plan together, to teach in each other’s classrooms.  How can book clubs meet virtually in California and New Hampshire? What do students (used to sun and sand in California) who may have never seen snow fall from the sky have in common with students from New Hampshire who ride snowmobiles to school in the winter?

What questions remain?

How do YOU fit it all in?

What will YOU do to engage and empower yourself, your peers, and your students?  How do YOU fit it all in?

 

Additional Resources:

Wakelet (to review all tweets from the chat)

180 Days

Sample Chapter

Heinemann podcast 1

Heinemann podcast 2

Facebook page

Podcast part 1 – Read Aloud

Resourceful – Planning

Travis Crowder Review

Kelly Gallagher website

Penny Kittle website

Passionate Readers Guest Host Pernille Ripp

by Jenn Hayhurst

On August 24, 2017, our #G2Great community welcomed back Pernille Ripp with open arms. We celebrated her book, Passionate Readers: The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child with a thoughtful and heartfelt conversation about what it takes to be a teacher of reading. Pernille is a teacher, she is one of us. She is open and honest about her own personal struggles and shares her celebrations and successes. She lets us into her classroom, and in doing so, we see our own teaching lives revealed.

As I read through my Twitter feed, I imagined that I was part of an extended faculty. A member of a dynamic group of educators who cares deeply about our profession. Teachers who understand that together we are changing lives. We are united by a shared purpose and our conversations with Pernille are a prelude to all the good work that lies ahead of a new school year.

As you read this post, imagine we are in the faculty room, and we are having a good conversation, thinking about the complexities of the work that goes into helping students discover their passion for reading. What is the most important thing to focus on? What should I do to set up a successful year? What do I do if students don’t even like to read?  

Establish Reading Rituals…

Nurture Reading Identities…

Create a Reading Culture… 

Set Attainable Goals…

Design Learning Environments…

Prioritize Time to Read… 

Honor Authentic Choices… 

Share Your Hopes & Dreams…

Thank you Pernille, you inspired so many of us to dig deep and share what we know. This chat was a glimpse into your marvelous book, which is a beautiful read that is both poignant and practical. Together we can wrestle with the big important questions, and find solutions through our collective wisdom. Fortunately, there are so many talented teachers to learn with as we begin this exciting new year of learning for students as well as ourselves.

Links to Connect with Pernille

Pernille’s website: https://pernillesripp.com

Pernille Ripp on passion-based learning and empowering students (youtube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKCYj9KQS0o

The Students’ Voice: Empowering Transformation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Un8fFciqmo

Global Read Aloud: One Book to Connect the World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoJo5wbK54I

The Educator Collaborative Gathering Global Read Alouds, K-12 Pernille Ripp, Amira Abdel-Aal, & Alumni from New Horizon Irvine https://gathering.theeducatorcollaborative.com/session-three/workshop-11/

Passionate Learners by Pernille Ripp (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_6_10?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=passionate+learners&sprefix=passionate%2Caps%2C143&crid=2QPU63E5QHA0G

Passionate Learners by Pernille Ripp (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/Passionate-Readers-Reaching-Engaging-Every/dp/1138958646/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1496069596&sr=8-2&keywords=pernille+ripp

Empowered Schools Empowered Students by Pernille Ripp (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/Empowered-Schools-Students-Connected-Educators/dp/1483371832/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1478029745&sr=8-2&keywords=passionate+learners

My ITEC Ignite – The Least We Can Do http://ytcropper.com/embed/7R581a9b2a0bd7d/loop/noautoplay/

(Pernille’s newest book): Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration https://www.amazon.com/Reimagining-Literacy-Through-Global-Collaboration/dp/1943874166/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478568811&sr=8-1&keywords=literacy+through+global+collaboration

Instilling a Life-Long Love of Reading from a Student Lens

by Mary Howard

February 16, 2017 was a very special day in our two-year history of #G2Great Twitter chats. This momentous occasion marked the first time a father-son team shared the #G2Great stage as we enthusiastically welcomed Dr. Tony Sinanis and his amazing son Paul Sinanis. To make this event even more spectacular, we spotlighted a perfectly magical theme, “Instilling a Life-Long Love of Reading from a Student Lens.”

I’ve long been a fan of principal Tony Sinanis, spending hours savoring his words in remarkable tweets, book, blog, and even a #G2Great twitter chat on leadership. Shortly after reading Tony’s exquisite post, Let’s Not Kill a Love of Reading, I received an email alert of a new post. I opened his blog in joyful anticipation and to my pure delight I discovered exquisite post number two written by his middle school son, Paul, Yes I Love to ReadIn an instant, Paul’s post made me an official fan club leader of two members of the Sinanis family!

This chat rapidly took shape in my mind and heart as my growing sense of reading love urgency spurred me to immediately contact Tony and Paul about being guest hosts on #G2great. The very thought that we would be discussing life-long reading was exciting enough but to do so from the lens of both educator and student was the icing on the love of reading cake. I knew Tony and Paul would collectively spark inspired dialogue but before the chat even began Paul’s enthusiasm set off a virtual explosion of reading passion that lit up the Twitter world:

There’s no question in my mind that the educational universe is desperately in need of enthusiasm only young people like Paul can bring to the learning conversation. When students and educators come together to initiate collective dialogue, this collaboration can maximize our efforts to do our best work in their name. After all, who better to view our teaching from the receiving end than students? #G2Great is so committed to bringing student voices into the conversation that we have previously spotlighted the gifts of Eden & Ella of #Kidsedchatnd and Sam Fremin of #TheBowTieBoys (the entire #BowTieBoys team will honor us on #G2Great 3/16/17).

While Paul’s blog post captivated my heart, it also broke my heart to read the words no teacher should ever want to read about the impact of their instructional choices. Sadly, I have seen the love of reading hijacked in far too many classrooms and I can’t help but worry how many students share Paul’s feelings. Quite frankly, we should all be horrified that any child walks away from their school experience with such feelings. Well, shouldn’t we?

We owe it to all of the Paul’s of the world to make the choices that will instill a life-long love of reading, especially in an age where reading for pleasure seems to be pushed to the values sidelines, crowded out by a laundry list of so-called priorities that pale in comparison. We have an abundance of research on the critical role of authentic reading with incredible authors leading the way such as Donalyn Miller, Penny Kittle and Terry Lesesne who have made it their life work to spread this message. Yet, far too many students are still slipping through the love of reading cracks. Why?

So where do we even begin to accomplish the lofty but ever so worthy life-long love of reading goal? Lately as I travel to schools across the country, I can’t help but notice that reading in some classrooms is filled with so many rigidly flawed activities in the name of reading that the heart and soul of reading is barely visible (even one classroom is too many). As I look back on the shared wisdom of Tony and Paul, I noticed that they re-captured this heart and soul by highlighting three clear goals that could shift our path:

 

PURPOSE

Before we even consider the WHAT and HOW of reading, we must first identify our WHY. Purpose, or what we view as the ultimate goal of reading beyond our lessons, is the driving force of all we do. WHY gives us a sense of direction that will keep us from veering off the life-long reading path. As Paul and Tony so eloquently reminded us, instilling a life-long love of reading is the foundation upon which all else resides. This is not separate from our instructional goals but could breathe new life into those goals. Without WHY we are simply “DOING” reading while keeping WHY at the center squarely focuses our efforts on students “BECOMING” readers who see reading as a purposeful and pleasurable pursuit both in and out of school. We need learning experiences where teachers and students alike see reading as an event that can support and extend our lessons while serving to beckon our students into life-long reader ‘becoming.’ Don’t the Paul’s of the world deserve that?

 

TIME

But acknowledging WHY is not going to matter much if we aren’t willing to back this belief up with the gift of time no matter how busy we are. When we view instructional pursuits as more relevant that emotional pursuits rather than as two inseparable goals, reading as a joyful event will be first on the priority chopping block. The issue isn’t that we don’t have time but that we choose to use that time in less meaningful and purposeful ways. If joyful reading takes a back seat to STUFF – well, then we’ve misplaced our priorities and cheat children out of their birthright of BECOMING readers. We make room for authentic reading by giving it a place of honor in each learning day and then steadfastly avoid usurping precious time for reading as a purposeful pursuit by refusing to do anything that turns it into a trivial TO DO list. In other words, we celebrate each child’s journey to ‘becoming’ as we put instillling a life-long love a reading at the top of our priority list. Don’t the Paul’s of the world deserve that?

 

CHOICE

Once we know our purpose and are inspired to find time in the day to honor our WHY, we then acknowledge choice as a co-contributor of life-long love of reading. We ensure that students have access to a wide range of texts and allow them to choose books that have the greatest potential to inspire them in this journey regardless of reading level. We know that books entice our readers and open the door to a love of reading so we happily immerse them in a wide range of beautiful options that will make their hearts sing across their school reading histories. We also know choice is not limited only to books students read but to what they do with that reading. This means that we refute activities that reduce reading to a trivial task such as assigned questions, reading logs, worksheets, and mind-numbing joy-robbing stop and jots. Rather, we opt for the very experiences that are afforded real life readers such as collaborative dialogue, book sharing, and student-centered inquiry. Don’t the Paul’s of the world deserve that?

 

I must say that I am still basking in the glow of watching this incredible father-son team in action this week. Tony and Paul clearly share the belief that instilling a life-long love of reading matters. This was evident in their tweets as well as the tweets of those who were inspired by them. Imagine the global impact we could have if we all join forces to spread this message and make instilling a life-long love of reading a priority everywhere. What if we screamed this message from the highest educational rooftops in our schools, in blogs, on social media and to anyone who is listening? I think the Paul’s of the world deserve that!

I’d like to close this post with a question that first inspired me to invite Tony and Paul to bring their voices to the #G2great conversation. Why do we need to look to our students so we can engage them in conversations that will infuse their voice into instructional decision-making? Well, the reasons seem pretty clear in my mind:

We look to our students because they are the recipients of our efforts to achieve their rightful status as life-long readers. We look to our students because they have unlimited passion and enthusiasm that would spark our passion and enthusiasm. We look to our students because they are the mirror that reflects how we are doing so we can do better. We look to our students because they have wisdom that could elevate our efforts. We look to our students because we know our actions have a lingering impact. We look to our students because they deserve to enter and leave our classrooms holding tightly onto books that envelop them in a warm blanket of life-long love of reading. We do all of these things because we believe deeply that our students deserve joyful reading long after they leave us and that we can be the impetus that will maximize that potential for every Paul we are lucky enough to have in our professional care. And yes, I think they deserve that!

Thank you Tony and Paul for inspiring us with your wisdom and heart. And Paul, I want to give you a special thank you for reminding us who this wonderful work we do is really all about. Your voice has inspired so many educators to lift up their students’ voices in joyful harmony so our practices will mirror those voices. Please never stop sharing your voice, Paul. We are better teachers because you chose to make #G2Great your first chat…

We are listening and we are forever grateful for your heart and wisdom!

 

LINKS for Tony and Paul

Paul Sinanis: Yes I Love to Read

http://leadingmotivatedlearners.blogspot.com/2017/01/yes-i-love-to-read.html

Tony Sinanis: Let’s not Kill a Love of Reading

http://leadingmotivatedlearners.blogspot.com/2017/01/lets-not-kill-love-of-reading.html

Tony’s Blog: http://leadingmotivatedlearners.blogspot.com

Tony Twitter https://twitter.com/TonySinanis

Paul Sinanis https://twitter.com/_0pqul0_

Hacking Leadership book http://hacklearning.org/hacking-leadership-10-ways/

Hacking Leadership book https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H4M1OWE?ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_FsuCxb8BHHKYB&tag=brilorinsa07-20&linkCode=kpe

Tony for Workshops https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/consultant/tony-sinanis

George Couros on Tony http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/tag/tony-sinanis

 

Dedication And Generosity: Celebrating Independent Reading

By, Jenn HayhurstScreen Shot 2016-03-06 at 10.58.30 AMOn Thursday March 3, 2016 #G2Great hosted a chat that began a conversation about the importance of independent reading.  This blog post is dedicated to anyone who is “holding tight” to this work, either at home or in the classroom.  It is for those of us who believe that literacy reveals a path of growth and self discovery through text.  

Question 1The following Saturday morning, I was part of an incredible team of teachers from my district, @SCCentralSD . We went to an event sponsored by a local organization called @TheBookFairies.  This amazing nonprofit opened their doors to teachers everywhere and we were able to shop for free books!   

Imagine all of us giving our time, the Book Fairies volunteers and so, so many teachers.  I am struck by the generosity of amazing people who gave up a gorgeous Saturday to build robust classroom libraries for students to enjoy:Question 2

Many people were telling touching stories about the readers and writers in their classrooms. There was not a mention of levels.  Wise teachers value levels because they are an important tool that informs instructional practices. Levels are not to be mistaken with labels that hinder a love for independent reading:

Question 3

We were all swapping stories as well as books.  You could hear teachers excitedly saying, “Oh this is so great! Jorge is going to be so happy!” “Look what I found.” “I can’t believe I found this book, my mother used to tell us this story!” and “I’m so excited I can’t wait to get to school on Monday!”

Question 4

It was quite a sight seeing everyone loading books into boxes, crates and bags.  One teacher could barely close her trunk for all the books she and her colleague were taking back to school.  We need to share our stories about the lengths teachers will go to promote  literacy.  We need to encourage our students to become connected so that they can share their love for independent reading.

Question 5

When we work together, we are creating a community with a purpose for reading.  We are being the change we hope to see in education. Literacy changes lives.  Our dedication and generosity to that effort is the flip side of the urgency we all feel.  For these reasons, teachers are opening up their classroom libraries and giving free access to books because that’s one way to keep students at the center of all that we do.

Question 6Our message is clear. We understand that now more than ever we need to “hold tight” to independent reading.  Think of a classroom library as a garden, and every book a child reads is like a seed.  Narratives and informational texts take root and grow to fill students’ heads with stories and ideas.  This becomes our context to teach children how to read.  But even more than that, we are growing a love for literacy that will last a lifetime.

Question 7

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 3.11.00 PM