#cyberPD- Week 1- Reading in the Wild

This week I begin a three week promise to blog! I have been pathetic about blogging lately, so maybe this will get me started again. This is the beginning of the fourth annual #cyberPD fun. I missed the first year, but have read the archives and have actively participated since. I know I get way more than I give with this enterprise, but I love to reflect, so here I am.
You can follow the fun (and even participate) by connecting here:

July 9th: Chapters 1 & 2 here at Reflect and Refine
July 16th: Chapters 3 & 4 hosted by Laura at Ruminate and Invigorate
July 23rd: Chapters 5 & 6 hosted by Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone
To Be Announced: July 30th @ 8 p.m. EST

I was one of the ones who rushed to read this book as soon as it was published, and boy am I glad. I read The Book Whisperer a few years ago and follow Donalyn on Twitter, but it was great to get a more in-depth look at what actually happens in her classroom.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the clear link to research. I have friends who are in schools where independent reading time is not valued- bam- I have research to support their beliefs. I have friends who feel they do not have time for read alouds-bam- here is why it matters so much. It is also great to be able to use this information in parent workshops too. Reading time is a guarantee in our class and there can never be enough time! It was impressive to see the students’ stamina for this build over the year.

I have used the workshop approach for years in our classroom, but I am always looking for improvements, so I appreciated chapter 1, where there were examples galore. This summer I have found the idea of “edge” reading personally powerful. I am preparing for a huge move across the world and my time for reading is much less than it has been in previous summers. I always make sure I have a book (or my Kindle) with me and while running errands related to my move I have been able to get lots read. In class we talked about this too and it was great to see how many students started taking a book to lunch with them!We used book talks and book commercials a lot this year. Students really enjoyed using Animoto and a few other apps to jazz these up. Conferences are a high point of my day. I use CAFE and Daily 5 (http://www.thedailycafe.com/ and having student input into their reading goals has been powerful.

I used a revised version of Donalyn’s 40 Book Challenge the year before last and tweaked it this year, using her star rating system for kids to quickly reflect on their reading. As a class we kept a list of the texts we shared, but in rereading the book I realize I did not keep track of articles, poems, and other shorter texts- next year! Personally I use Goodreads and when 2014 started I shared my yearly goal with my students, voila, they wanted to make their own.

The section about readers self-selecting was so key. I have visited other classrooms where students could choose to read any book in the box they were assigned- happily my students do not have these limits. What I love is that as the students share the books they are reading their classmates broaden what they think they would like to read. Note to self- I have to get better about having kids keep a list of books they would like to read next. The section on curating a classroom library was important to me. I have a very large classroom library- all purchased by me. As I prepared to leave my current school colleagues were coming by to get a look at the books I have so that they could enlarge their own libraries. I was actively involved in helping my grade-level partner order books for the grade for next year. I also made a decision that the shipping allowance my next school provided would primarily go to shipping my books. I did take time to weed out some books before I left- and that is hard! My books will not be at school at the start of the year, so I am trying to keep an open mind to the new books I may meet. I admit I have already researched book stores in Kuala Lumpur and know where I have to go to look for next reads. Happily a family at my old school has gifted me with a certificate, so I have a reason to go there quickly after landing. I know there are lots of great books waiting for me and the readers I will meet on August 7th.

I know this post was kind of random- I blame it on moving brain. The apartment I am leaving is now freshly painted and I have just 4 1/2 days to jet off- hopefully next week will be more focused. In the meantime I look forward to reading what others have to say about this great book.

Happy reading!

12 thoughts on “#cyberPD- Week 1- Reading in the Wild

  1. Deb Day (@mrsday75)

    I liked the link to research also. I have people who I know think my giving high school students time to “free read” is a waste of time. I’m thinking of posting some of that research all over my room and the hallway so everyone knows reading is important!

  2. Jamie

    I’m a library media specialist now, but taught third grade for many years. I love that you are using these ideas with your third graders. I was thinking when I read Chapters 1 and 2 how much I would have appreciated this book when I was still a classroom teacher. My students did really use the next read lists that were part of their reading notebooks, so I would definitely incorporate that in your class next year. We often referred to them during conferences and to set goals. I’m glad you were able to take your classroom library books with you-I know how long it takes to build a strong library. It sounds like you have a great opportunity ahead of you. Good Luck!

  3. Cathy Mere

    You have many great suggestions here for creating wild readers. I enjoyed reading the about the ideas you use and the ones you plan to try. I just packed my classroom library to move it 20 miles from my classroom to my basement as I’m switching to an intervention position. I cannot even imagine what you do when you are moving miles and miles and miles. Best of luck! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to join us and share your thinking.


  4. Michelle @litlearningzone

    Wow, girl, you have a lot going on! Bravo to you for squeezing in time to reread, blog, and move! I enjoyed reading your notes to self and thinking about next year! True reflection!

    I have to agree with you on so many points. The research component was stellar! I have had these thoughts and ideas over the years and felt comfortable sharing these ideas from these “great reading people I follow on Twitter,” but now I feel I have solid research compiled in this book. So many future conversations I can have with a solid backbone!

    Love that you use the workshop model with Daily 5/CAFE. I think this is the ideal literacy learning environment! (My opinion, but I know there has to be research to back that too!)

    Best of luck with your move. Safe travels to you and your books! Thanks for joining in the conversations!

  5. Laura Komos

    I loved your “bam” moments in your post! So true; when we have those colleagues who look down upon us for giving kids extra reading time and making time for read alouds, they have to know it is based on research. I also use the workshop model combined with Daily 5 and find it to be very powerful. Kids thrive on choices and building their stamina day-by-day. You also spoke about your own reading life, and I really do believe in the value of sharing that with our students. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation again this year! Happy and safe travels to you!

  6. Chris

    Erika – thanks for the reminder to keep track of poems, short texts, etc. that we read. I’m heading to first grade, so I’m thinking of pulling out one of my many digital picture frames to showcase all the texts we read aloud this year. We shall see if it works!
    I think it’s so important to share our reading lives with our students. Reading opportunities are important to grab! Maybe I’ll encourage my kiddos to have a bag of books in the car or by the front door? Thanks for some great inspiration!


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