#cyberPD- Week 3- Reading in the Wild

This week I continue a three week promise to blog! I have been pathetic about blogging lately, so maybe this will get me started again. This is 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

Ha, summer Wednesday, you almost caught me unaware again! This has been another busy week with lots of apartment hunting in my new city and the start of new teacher orientation, but I reread the sections and am ready to reflect!

Chapter 5- Wild Readers Show Preferences

It was interesting to read this again shortly after Donalyn Miller’s recent Nerdy Book Club post about “book pauses” ( http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/hit-pause-by-donalyn-miller/, as I used to only read one book at a time, but lately have been moving toward multiples, based on the time I have to read, my level of concentration, level of “need” (whether the need to get it read for somebody or something external or my “need” for a particular book at a particular time) or other reasons. I used to think that it was not possible to do justice to multiple books at a time, but now find it works for me. It was not surprising to see that in their wild readers survey children had narrower reading interests than adults- I think this is really only a lack of exposure to lots of good choices. It was a good reminder to me to make sure that I am introducing students to many different kinds of text and not limit them by my own interests. I also needed the reminder to keep reading widely outside of my own natural interests, as I have to be a good reading model and advisor and that is so much more effective when I know my stuff. Children also seem to have preferences that are less fixed than adults (which is great!). Several of her other points I have also observed first hand, such as that children often have an interest in reading deeply from an author or genre, have a strong preference for non-fiction over fiction (or vice verse), may have a preference for other types of reading (such as graphic novels, magazines, or internet), and a preference for rereading favorites. All of these were in evidence in our classroom this past year.

I also liked the part that reminded us that as teachers we are seeing more and more about nonfiction and we have to find ways to get kids motivated to access this and increase their skills. I liked her ideas of ways to do this via using these texts more often for book talks, as mentor texts, as part of a paired set, and in general sharing and appreciating nonfiction more.

Something new for me to implement this year is the reading habits conference. I think this has the potential to be really beneficial for me as the teacher and for the students as they work on reflection and goal setting.


I have used many of these forms in the last year. I want to get better about getting students to use the “Books to Read” list. I also want to try out the reading itinerary questionnaire, the selection reflection, an the reading influences survey. I wish I had used the end of year reading habits survey, because it really gets to the heart of what I hope for the readers in our classroom.

As I begin work at a new school this year I am hoping that I will get a few other teachers in my building to work on bringing more of the goals of this book to our students. I found rereading it as I start to think about this year really helpful.

I can’t wait to read what everyone else is thinking this week!

Happy reading!

7 thoughts on “#cyberPD- Week 3- Reading in the Wild

  1. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and good luck as you move to a new community of teachers! I have the same problem as you about keeping student consistently using their “Books to Read” (and books they’ve read) lists. I feel like they only remember when I remember and so many students are so eager to jump in their reading that they need constant nagging to record what they are reading. (Any tips would be appreciated!)

    1. Ms Victor Reads Post author

      Thanks for commenting. I guess we just have to develop routines for reminding the kids about this. Maybe what I will do is keep my own chart in the classroom too and update mine at a certain time each week to get us all in a routine.

      1. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts)

        Communal nagging, good idea! I want to keep a digital map of where the books we are reading in class come from, so perhaps I could update that as we move into reading time as a reminder to students to update their own records.

  2. Michelle @litlearningzone

    In all your busyness of life, I’m glad you joined in again this week to share your thoughts. I realized too that I need to continue reading widely — and more widely that I have — to provide students lots of choices in reading because not all kids are reading what I only want to read! It so makes sense, but just never thought about it that way!

    I look forward to hearing about how all these new wild reading ideas shape our classrooms in the fall! Best of luck in your new school, new country, new home!

  3. Ms Victor Reads Post author

    Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for commenting. I have to practice what I preach about reading more widely and trying out new things- definitely makes for good discussions.
    I am also excited to see how new colleagues will be into this too.
    Thanks for the good wishes and best to you too- one of the things I love about teaching- a new start each year!

  4. Cathy

    I hope you are getting settled into your new city. I also hope you will continue to find time to blog. I’ve enjoyed stopping by during our conversation.

    You spent some time talking about reading multiple books at a time. This is something, like you, I really never did, but lately I find myself doing more and more. I usually have a middle grade book on audio that I listen to as I clean or cook. I am trying to catch up on the YA titles my Twitter friends are gushing over each day. Often library digital copy availability has me reading more than one book at a time. Additionally, I always have a nonfiction title going and occasionally pepper in some adult fiction. A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought this would be possible.

    You have me thinking this would be a great conversation with primary readers. Many of them are just beginning transitional chapter books and keeping picture book reading going alongside is important. Not to mention students who enjoy keeping a nonfiction book going or sprinkle in a little poetry.


  5. Kristen Murphy

    This is my first time to read either one of Donalyn’s books. I was wondering, since you have used some of her books before, have you done her reading notebook. I am wanting to get them set up for my fifth graders and I would like any input, if you have some.

    I am excited to start the school year as well after these reads!

    It was great to read your post!

    Kristen Murphy


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