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.
Recently in teaching reading Category
April 19, 2018
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.
March 15, 2017
The debate around the use of novels in English classes of all age groups is at least twenty years old, but it remains unresolved, continually bubbling up in blog posts and conversations among a wide range of concerned educators: what do we do about the whole class novel? In this post, I analyze the state of current teaching trends with regard to novels, and offer two propositions for moving the debate forward.
January 17, 2017
Many of our struggling readers did not grow up with a consistent reading ritual at home; instead, they were exposed to books mostly in school. What was that context like for them?
December 28, 2016
One of the most fundamental routines in an English or any literacy-based classroom is the practice of reading. So what do we do when we give students a reading task, but we see that real reading is not happening? I'm talking about those moments when it seems like we're stuck repeating directions, redirecting off task behavior, and even struggling to stay focused ourselves. Maybe it's just a wonky moment--or maybe it's time to step back, evaluate what's really going on, and change course.