We really don't need to be in the front of the room talking--pointing at a slide, rapidly firing questions at students and cold calling to make sure they are paying attention--in order to be "teaching." We know this, yet we still do it so much of the time. Just take a quick walk through the halls of your school and peek into each classroom. Where is the teacher? Who's talking?
Recently in teaching reading Category
August 08, 2018
July 26, 2018
There is little more difficult than trying to engage a whole class of students in reading a novel that is a poor match for the group. There are things teachers can do to influence the experience in one direction or another, but a great deal rests purely on the book itself...Once we have some possible titles in mind, we need to think through our decisions very carefully, going in with as clear an understanding of what might work really well about the book and what might be challenging or disappointing about it. Below is an excerpt adapted from Whole Novels For the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach (2014) about five key factors I weigh when I select a book for my whole class to read.
May 29, 2018
When we cut school librarians and rely solely on teachers to curate classroom libraries, we open the door to several problems and close the door to other key benefits.
April 19, 2018
Every year I have some students who arrive to my class with a fear or dislike of poetry. Spending some time away from deconstruction of meaning of poems has always worked to put these students at ease and allow them to open up to poetry anew.
December 06, 2017
Reading is a skill necessary in pretty much any academic subject, so we all need to teach it. The eye rolls, however, remind us that we can say this all we want, but that doesn't make it clear how we should go about it, especially when content area teachers are struggling with their own content, pacing calendars, and the same staggering diversity of readers that challenge us in the ELA classroom. And that PD in June? It didn't help teachers make actionable plans, and it hasn't been discussed since. I've witnessed a version of this cycle in every school I've taught in.
November 08, 2017
My favorite part of a whole novel study is the week we hold student-driven discussions of the book. Students have completed reading the whole novel and are eager to share and investigate what they experienced. These inquiry-oriented tips have can also be used with other kinds of texts.
October 11, 2017
There are two dilemmas I have around the Do Now activity; the first is about silence, and the second is about time. The one simple solution for both problems: reading.
September 14, 2017
For teachers looking to build students' confidence and love of reading, especially in the case of reluctant and struggling readers, short stories may not be a great place to start.
June 12, 2017
In this post, I share some examples of teachers explaining how lack of books impacts their planning, and a checklist and suggestions for administrators who want to build a culture of authentic reading in their schools.
April 05, 2017
In my previous post, I discussed the debate around whether to teach whole class novels. In the field, this conversation can get quite polarized, but we shouldn't be limited to this either/or scenario. As a profession we can do better than a decades old stalemate. I believe we must revolutionize, not drop, the whole class novel. The five strategies below are steps toward that end.