Donalyn Miller has a wonderful way with words. Through her words I am able to see the beautiful picture of a reading classroom. I did well in school, but I was an underground reader. I worked quickly so I could get back to my book from elementary school to high school. I never made any trouble because I was a teacher pleaser, but I do remember thinking, "Can you please stop talking? I get it. I got it after the first sentence. I want to get to work." (Or I want to get back to my book.)
Thinking about my students in this new way will really help me. I need to value their reading no matter where they are, what level they are on, or how many words they know. It is so easy to get caught up in those things when we are test and data driven. Don't get me wrong. Data is a very valuable tool and I know we have to test, but I have to keep myself apart from those things.
Cambourne's Conditions for Learning: (pg. 34-36)
- Immersion: Books need to be everywhere, accessible, and discussed in an open manner.
- Demonstrations: We have to show students how to access the information in all those books.
- Expectations: (My favorite!) Students will perform at the level of expectation, be it high or low.
- Responsibility: Students need freedom in their reading choices.
- Employment: This is simply time to practice what we know in authentic reading situations.
- Approximations: Allow students to make mistakes and then learn from them. Encourage them to try again until they get it. Provide the support they need.
- Response: As the teacher, we need to provide feedback quickly and meaningfully every day to our readers.
- Engagement: The most important aspect of reading. Reading must have personal value, have an attainable goal without fear of mistakes and be modeled by a positive role model.
I am going to post these somewhere near my desk. I want to be able to read it and think about it as I am working on lesson plans or thinking about what we are going to talk about in class. I have a big classroom library and I am always looking to expand it. I think I do really well with the immersion part. I am also confident in my expectations. I have high expectations that keep us all working diligently. I really need to work on demonstrations and response. I am still a young teacher, so I don't feel like I am a pro at those yet.
I love this quote that ends the chapter.
"We have to build a community that embraces every student and provides acceptance and encouragement no matter where students are on the reading curve." (pg. 37)