Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Whisperer Chapter 2

"Providing students with the opportunity to choose their own books to read empowers and encourages them. It strengthens their self-confidence, rewards their interests, and promotes a positive attitude toward reading by valuing the reader and giving him or her a level of control. Readers without power to make their own choices are unmotivated." (pg. 23)

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.)

I really like her terminology: developing, dormant, and underground readers. Awesome. It really changes my thinking. I am guilty of blaming others for my student's reading achievement. "They don't read at home!" "This student just doesn't want to read." "I have done everything I know how to do." I am ashamed to admit that sometimes I see my students achievement as a reflection of me. I am a perfectionist and I have to be more vigilant in my thoughts and actions so I don't project that on my students and cause anxiety.

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.

I am very interested to learn about Brain Cambourne's research. I didn't study these in college. As I was reading it, I thought well duh! There is something so simple and powerful about his conditions for learning.

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)


April Brown said...

I finished the book yesterday and I loved it. She is so insightful and has written about what I believe in. Kids should read everyday. I can't stop recommending it to other teacher friends. I am looking forward to reading more about what you thought. I also love the reading survey you put together. I hope it's okay that I liked it to the blog post I did.
BTW I love your blog and the ideas you share. Thank you.

Mrs. Morris said...

Thank you! I really like your blog. Are you on the Second Grade Teaacher's Club ning network?

Sarah said...

I am also reading this book! I am loving it! I look forward to continue reading this book! If you have a moment stop by my blog- I am new to blogging and if you want you can ad your link to the bottom of my post on Chapter 2 of this book!


Fantastic First Grade

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