We are rolling along now! First of all, I want to say happy summer to all of my teaching friends here in Ontario. Today was the last day of school....finally! I know everyone is excited for their well deserved break and what better way to start than with Canada Day tomorrow? Happy Birthday Canada!
Now on to Chapter 2.... Scroll to the bottom to see the information about how to ask Donalyn Miller a question about Chapters 1 - 2.
I love the idea of going into the school just assuming everyone is a reader. Love. It. Because if you really think about it, everyone is. My dad would never call himself a reader and yet he reads a minimum of three newspapers, cover to cover, everyday. I am not even sure I find the time to sit down with my current novel everyday to do that much reading. My husband has never read a book- at least not in the 10+ years I have known him, and yet he will read article after article on sports. Everyone is a reader, just the mediums are different.
I have a little confession though...the idea of a free for all book frenzy at the start of the year gives me the heebie jeebies. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to organization and my classroom. If we ever get the chance to meet and have coffee face-to-face, ask me about my experience going in my portable last week to pack up the materials I left for the long-term supply while I am on mat leave..... sigh. I think I will attempt a variation of this activity in my classroom, however, because I really like the idea of starting the year off with books. I think I will create a tub of books with a variety of genres and levels, one tub per group. Each morning of the first week the students will have an opportunity to browse through the tub at their table group and choose books to read. Each day I will rotate the tubs to a different group so everyone gets a chance at all the books. Frenzy contained...just the way I like it! LOL
I enjoyed reading Miller's more positive descriptions of the types of readers we may encounter in our classroom and I think it helps frame a dialogue for how to help these students much better than the more common negative labels. I especially connected with the passage on page 25 where Miller talks about how developing readers actually read 75 % less than their peers! How can they learn to read if they are taken out of reading class and have no chance to read? Crazy.
I think the biggest group in any classroom is the dormant readers. So many children have an innate love of ready....until school gets its claws into them and drills that love away with worksheets, questions, and book reports. Unless they continue to see reading as something to be done for pleasure, either at home or by the teacher, it's no wonder so many kids just give up on reading altogether. I mean no one ever makes them do a worksheet after they play a videogame!
The biggest surprise of this chapter for me was the 40 book requirement...wow! NOTE: For many of you...I know you have read ahead!! And so have I, but in case there are people out there that haven't make sure you stick to what's been said in Chapter 2 on the subject on 40 books. We'll get to the later chapters soon enough! Promise!! What do you think about this? Would it work in your grade? Classroom? School? How would you approach it with your students? Scary thoughts...? I did start to have less misgivings about this requirement when I got to page 35 where Miller writes about Brian Cambourne's Conditions for Learning and the fact that students will rise to the teacher's expectations. If you expect them to read 40 books I do believe that most will. Or at least most will try.
Whew....so much to think about and it's only Chapter 2. I am loving this book.
1) Would you start the year off with a book frenzy similar to Miller's or would you adapt it?
2) What were your impressions of Miller's more positive descriptions of the three types of readers?
3) 40 books!!! What do you think of that??
I am going to put up a linky party again so that if people want to find other posts on this same subject they have a place to find a variety of ideas!!
Lastly, and most importantly... do you have any questions for Donalyn Miller? Leave your question and name in a comment below. I will be forwarding all the questions on to Donalyn and she is going to choose approximately 10 to answer. How fun!