After reading chapter 2 on Best Practices in Reading, I'm excited to implement five new ideas into my teaching.
Teachers need to model and allow opportunities for students to practice comprehension skills that all successful readers use including visualizing, connecting, questioning, inferring, evaluating, analyzing, recalling and monitoring. This last year has been my first year at introducing and modeling some of these concepts with my students. I’d like to spend more time further developing all of these concepts as well as providing time for students to share and construct meaning from text.
2. Choice in books & read alouds
Research shows that students are more engaged and motivated to read when they have choice in the books they are reading. I read this article earlier in the school year and I have already made some changes to my take home book program to allow student choice as well as during their “read to self” time. My goal for next year is to allow students to pick their own books during guided reading time. I’d also like to incorporate choice into the read alouds that we use throughout the year. It’s just so hard to find time to fit more in with our curriculum! However mid-way through the year I begin reading aloud from chapter books. I’d like to start this much earlier and I think this would be the perfect opportunity to get student choosing the books.
It’s also important that the books are of interest to students. I’m working hard at getting new books into my library that are interesting to my young readers. Purchasing more books has been my number one priority as research suggests that students with a larger classroom library are more successful.
3. Shared book experiences
Students need time to share and talk about their reading. I’d love to include more book clubs, sharing time and author presentations. Extending our guided reading time may also provide more of an opportunity for me to engage children in discussion and for me to monitor their understanding. I’d also like students to give mine book talks or have time to meet in small groups to share about their library books. It will encourage that love for reading and get kids excited about checking out other friends’ books during library time.
Writing is a strong indicator of successful readers. “Writing powerfully promotes ability in reading,” says Zemelman, Daniels & Hyde (2005, p. 49) I want to include a daily writers workshop into my schedule to practice and provide help and support. You can learn so much about a child’s ability by looking at their writing. I’d love to add this information in my pensive binder and have time to meet with students to goal set, share strategies and encourage new ways of writing.
5. Modeling a love for reading
It is critical that the teacher is modeling a love for reading and showing how reading is a natural part of their life. I love to read but this article has me asking how much of that do I emulate to my students. I typically gear up during February to share my favorite books for I Love to Read month but I need to share my passion for reading throughout every month. I really want to bring back my take home books & buddy books. Typically we’ll read a book and then I’ll send home the book, a stuffed animal/mascot that matches the book, a journal and sometimes an additional activity. This year didn’t leave much room for other read alouds but I need to make this a priority. Students were always eager to get the book and I included a sharing time to the class on the day they returned the book.