Children's Books

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Thank You, Donalyn Miller

     I was so excited to hear a presentation this afternoon from Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer and  Reading in the Wild. Her presentation was Voice and Choice:  Fostering Reading Ownership.  Here are just a couple thoughts I came away with:

  • Classroom Libraries
    • Classroom libraries need to be made up with books that will meet the needs of the students where they are. It can't be books that, "I wish my kids will be reading at the end of the year."
    • Diversity, Currency, and Organization should be what we are looking for in the classroom library.  Donalyn talked about culling books from our classroom libraries if they are not being read by students.  This is an area that is really hard for me.  Getting rid of books feels like giving away gold.
    • Rethinking how my library is organized- Right now my library is mostly organized by level.  This only promotes student choice  based on book level  I want to encourage students to make book choices by series, authors, topics, and genre.  My classroom library needs an organizational makeover.
  • Leveling Books
    • My favorite quote of the day was, "Systems are scaffolds.  Scaffolds are temporary and meant to come down."
    • Leveling books is a system we use to help guide teachers as they choose texts for various uses.  Leveling systems are not meant to be a label for a child or the only way kids choose the books they read or don't read.
    • My job is to help students use book levels as a tool in their early reading lives, but then it is my job to help students learn to how they can choose just right books for themselves.
    • I don't want my students to think of themselves as levels.  I want them to think of themselves as readers.
  • Benefits of Self-Selected Reading
    • Allows kids to value their decision-making abilities.
    • Fosters their capacity to choose appropriate reading level.
     My next decision is how I am going to share this information with the other teachers at my school.  Thanks, Donalyn, for giving me so much to think about.

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