A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to Birmingham, Alabama to see Scholastic Reading Summit. I went with several other ladies at my new school so it was nice to begin to get to know them.
I've been wanting to share a few things that stood out to me while we were there.
I was SO excited to attend two sessions with Donalyn Miller, author of "The Book Whisperer" and "Reading in the Wild". I read "The Book Whisperer" a few years ago and just finished rereading it before the conference.
Here are some things I learned from the conference and from Donalyn!
BOOK TALKS - We all know the importance of sharing good books with our students. We need to make sure that our students are being exposed to good literature. It is my goal that by incorporating book talks into my classroom, I will have students who want to read books after listening to their peers and/or myself talk about a book. My plan on incorporating this into my Reading class is to have Book Talk Tuesday and Book Talk Thursday. My goal is to open the beginning of Reading class off with a book talk, providing I have student interest.
During one of Donalyn's workshops, we focused on the importance of allowing students CHOICE in the books they read. I am a firm believer that students should have choice. Although I have loved novel studies, I am going a different direction this year in regards to Reading and one I know will make a difference.
While students are given time to read, it is important to confer with students. I was able to connect with Donalyn so much because she was so down to earth and so real. It is hard to confer with students individually enough to meet their needs. Her advice was to start at the top of your list and work your way down. When you finish, start all over again. In her classroom, she will announce to the class what the topic of individual conferences will be ahead of time. For example, if they've worked on characterization, she would announce that prior to conferencing so students are prepared on what is expected during a conference.
Something new I am starting this year is a reading response notebooks. Students will be writing me a letter once a week telling me about the book they are reading. They will bring these notebooks to conferences. I am still pondering the best way for me to respond to them, but I like the idea of them being accountable for telling me about what they are reading. Although some teachers love and require reading logs, I am not requiring my students complete one.
Donalyn shared this quote with us about conferring with students:
I was so excited to get my picture made with Donalyn after a workshop!
Another idea shared was SHELFIES! I don't have a selfie of me with this stack of books, but basically you just take a picture of the student with a book or books they recommend. These can be posted in the classroom. LOVE this idea!
While I was there I got to meet Jessica from For the Love of Fifth! I follow Jessica's blog and Instagram so it was neat to see her in real life!
If you get the opportunity to go to a Reading Summit near you, GO!