I love reading and I love books. Whenever I return from a PD day or a trip I come home with MORE books. The first thing I do on Monday during Daily 5 is share the new stories and adventures. I always joke with colleagues and my students that my husband has no idea how much money has been invested in the books in my classroom. I hope he doesn't read this post... I am forever ordering on line or from Scholastic book orders. Oy!!!
Yesterday I finished reading Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer. It was the first book I chose out of my huge stack of books to read this summer. I'm so happy I started with this one. She believes everything I believe about books. Kids need to read in order to become better readers. If we are not allowing them to read in school how can we expect them to enjoy books and become better readers. We know that some kids don't get read to at home or have access to going to the library/books, so it becomes our job as educators to provide opportunities for them to read. Therefore, worksheets and comprehension stories need to get thrown away. Kids need to read books, have opportunities to discuss and share.
I'm in the process of reorganizing my classroom and I was looking at ALL of my books thinking I needed to weed through them but after reading this book, ALL of the books are staying other than the tattered and old books that can't be repaired. I've also decided to add my favourite books that I use for instruction (Kevin Henkes, Melanie Watt, Leo Leoni, Mem Fox and Barbara Reid). Why am I keeping these fabulous authors from kids? I should be ashamed. I had to buy more shelves mind you, but it's worth it.
I'm not going to go into a great amount of detail about the book because I want you to read it for yourself and then comment about what you thought. As I read, I kept thinking about what I wanted to change and what I wanted to keep the same. Here it is:
- My students usually ask if they can take home more than one book from my library to read at night and in the past I've said just one, but that will change. I think between 1 - 3 will be acceptable. Of course it will be with a promise to return them all when finished. I have to come up with a sign out system that works for little kids and it's not a huge time consumer for me. I'm open to ideas. Remember I've got THOUSANDS OF BOOKS.
- If they want to add a book of their choice from home to their reading box for Daily 5 it will be allowed. In the past I've said no. Why you ask? I think it was my way of wanting to have control over what they read but still allowing them choice in the classroom. I know this makes no sense but it's going to change.
- I've always had them read when they are finished work and this will stay the same. I have books spread out everywhere in the classroom. Pictures will follow when it's all cleaned and organized.
- We have a huge chart in the classroom where I or the kids write the title of the books we've read. I'm going to have the students do this with the books they read, so they can see their totals. I can't wait to see how they respond to this.
- Whenever we're waiting or in transitional times, I'll have favourite books for them to take. For example, waiting to have pictures taken, waiting in line at assembly's, they can be reading while they wait for other kids to come in.
- I think incorporating writing with reading is very important and I love how Miller has her students write about a book they've read once a week and give reasons for this. It's a great way to connect with students.
- I will be doing more personal reading in the classroom with the students. I'm not sure when I'm going to find the time but I'll find it. I'll model and show the book I'm currently reading.
- We'll have more book sharing time.
- During conferencing time, I'll read to small groups or have a student who wants to read, read to us. Only if they want to, it won't be a requirement because many students don't like reading aloud but I will encourage it if they want to.
- I'm sure as the summer progresses and I do more reading I'll come up with more ideas. If you have some ideas on what you're planning on doing, I would love to hear them.
I am looking forward to starting the year off and getting those little grade two's to catch onto reading and the love of books. I hope you take a day or a week to read Donalyn Miller's book. It's an easy read and you won't be disappointed or be able to put it down once you start.
P.S. Simply 2nd Resources has created a fabulous survey for grade two student's to do at the beginning of the year.