Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#cyberPD Part 3

Chapter 5
     In Chapter 5, I saw both myself as a reader and teacher. I particularly saw myself as a reader when Donalyn discussed reading preferences. I almost felt like she had looked into my reading life and could have practically checked "preferences" off in a checklist:
          1. Read deeply from one genre or author. I have primarily been a  
              mystery/suspense and historical fiction reader from childhood on. Is it weird to 
              find a new author and check out all of their books from the library? (The library
              ladies assure me it increases their circulation...)
          2. A preference for fiction over non-fiction.  Non-fiction is a huge book gap for 
              me as an adult. I have a hard time believing I actually read and enjoyed some 
              biographies as a child!
          3. A preference for series. Whoa! That is so me! I will not read a series until I can 
              read it in order.
          4. A preference for rereading favorite books. At least once a year, I reread 
              several of my favorite feel good "chick flick" type books. I have also been known 
              to reread series multiple times. Does this correlate to watching favorite movies 
              over and over?
     Even with all that said, the point I took away is this; as a teacher I need to find out why students are rereading, especially so I can assist those that may not know what else to read. On the note of rereading, I have had several students come to my class the past few years and tell me they "have" to read a book at least two times before they take the AR test. I don't even require AR tests! This was the requirement of them by the previous year's teachers along with a certain number of AR tests per week. Ack! 

     Last week's #bproots Twitter Chat dealt with graphic novels and what people may perceive to be "light reading." It was a great chat! I have really come to enjoy graphic novels the past year, and have collected as many as I can for my classroom. Babymouse and Lunch Lady are particular class favorites (and mine, too!). Graphic novels have really enticed some of my reluctant readers and encourage some deeper comprehension skills. For one of my students, who tended to be a more reluctant reader since reading did not come easy to him, graphic novels were the best thing since sliced bread. His fluency improved remarkably and he devoured books left and right. I think perhaps he wasn't so overwhelmed with the amount of text on a page, which supports the point that graphic novels provide scaffolding for students and give them the confidence to tackle more difficult texts.

     One of the things I would like to rethink for the upcoming school year is how my students use their reading logs. I will be revamping my form so they can record a rating along with title, author, genre, and date completed. I also think I can make more use of a "Books I Want to Read" form - perhaps that will help those students in the library that don't really have a plan and have no idea of what they want to check out. Even though we have many discussions as a class and while conferring about genres, I have not really implemented a 40 Book Challenge with genre guidelines for my third graders. I'm anxious to read how others are doing and/or have done this.

     I'm anxiously awaiting the Twitter Chat next week! 


  1. I have loved the 40 Book Challenge with my third graders the last two years (and this year used a 50 Book Challenge). At first the kids were a bit horror struck at the idea that they might read so much, but for most it came pretty easily in the end. I hope that I have now devised a better system to ensure that they keep track more accurately of all they read.

    1. When I have mentioned a 40 Book Challenge to students they are usually horror struck as you said; however, when I put it into perspective of a book a week, give or take, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. I would be interested in hearing more about how you implement the 40 and/or 50 Book Challenge in your classroom.
      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yay!! So happy to see your post! Looking to our own reading lives really helps us figure out how to support the readers in our care. I love that you are very in tune with your reading preferences and your reading gaps! I can't wait to hear more about your work with your third graders in the new year.

    1. Thanks, Laura! I wouldn't have had "the guts" to do this if it wasn't for inspirational people such as yourself!

  3. Great thoughts, Jill, thanks for sharing! I like how you could see yourself in Donalyn's descriptions and use that to help reflect on your teaching and reading lives. I am also going to be modifying the "Books Read" form for my third graders - I like the idea of the rating and maybe adding an "I would recommend this book to" section to get them thinking about other readers and helping to build the reading community.

    As for the 40 book challenge, I wrote a little in my #cyberPD post ( ) about my dilemma regarding such challenges. I am worried that with my students it would encourage those that rush and skim rather than those that read thoroughly and thoughtfully.

    1. Hi Katie,
      I checked out your thoughts regarding the 40 Book Challenge but I forgot to ask... Do you accept all books students read, such as a combination of chapter and picture books?
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Jill,

    I am happy you joined in the #cyberPD conversations! Congrats on starting a blog and sharing your voice! Way to be brave!

    It sounds like you know yourself as a reader! I think this is great information to know and share with your students. Each provides a conversation starter, modeling talking about your reading life, and allowing your students to reflect on their reading lives. And if they don't know or are very vague -- more conversation to move them to the next book to get them hooked!

    I'm not even going to comment on your rereading AR books. I think we are in agreement about that. Ack!

    I am impressed that you are thinking about next year and how you want to tweak the forms to fit your students' needs. Make it work for you and your class! Perhaps this year you implement the book challenge with *some* genre guidelines. (Baby steps!) I bet you would be surprised as what your students will do! I also think we need to keep in mind why Donalyn sets those guidelines ... to read widely, to taste all books, to note preferences and book gaps.

    So glad you joined in! I am looking forward to hearing more about your classroom and how all these new wild reading ideas shape our classrooms in the fall!

    Keep writing!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement and support, Michelle! Maybe some day when I'm feeling really brave (and even rebellious) I will write a post sharing my thoughts about AR...This doesn't sound nice, but I'm almost positive there is no one on staff at my school reading blogs so maybe that will make me even more brave! Ha!
      I'm embarrassed to say that I missed Donalyn's genre suggestions for the 40 Book Challenge until I read this section, even though I have followed her work for many years. I have had students do some genre graphing in the past, but now I can finally "get it all together."
      Thanks for your thoughts and helping me to reflect even more!

  5. Jill,
    As I read through your preferences I was reminded of the importance of sharing these with our students. As adult readers we have many of the same preferences as our young readers, and face many of the same challenges.

    I appreciated your connections from our reading to the #bpbook chat. I'm not familiar with this chat and would love to know more. Across this conversation, I've read blogs talking about graphic novels. Many are rethinking, or thinking more about, graphic novels in relation to the readers in their classrooms.

    It will be interesting to follow the impact of these conversations on our classrooms in the upcoming school year.