Tuesday, August 26, 2014

{sols} old but new

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I picked up the girls after school.  I asked them about their day, but P. only wanted to know one thing.

"Mommy, did you wash the clothes?"

I know exactly what clothes she is talking about.  The hand-me-down clothes the girls picked out from friends from our old church.  They generously shared two large boxes of clothes in just-the-right-size for the girls.  The other night, after the girls were in bed, I dumped out the boxes and scanned the possibilities.

Most of the articles of clothing were not my style for the girls.  In addition, my girls are currently on a "let's dress alike" kick.  I wasn't buying two of everything.  I wanted them to have some choice. In our house, we said, "similar, but different."  Perhaps the same shirt, but one in pink and one in purple.  That's what I was going for, and then mornings came with tears.  Now, every morning (for more than two years), P. picks out her clothes and M. picks exactly the same thing.

There were no duplicates in the boxes.  So I picked out a couple items that I kind of liked or I thought were perfect to add to the dress up box and set them to the side.  Our friends mentioned that we could donate the clothes that we did not want.

The next day, the box was set to go for donation.  Until two little curious pairs of hands opened up the boxes.  The girls did their own shopping.  P. loved a colorful dress while M. picked out a cute skirt with sparkles.  The girls continued to pull out shirts, skirts, dresses, sandals until they filled a laundry basket with choices of their own liking.

And they were okay with different.  Maybe this is what I needed to help them be their own little person.  I was pleasantly surprised with the old hand-me-downs.

Today she wanted those "new" clothes.

"Oh, honey.  I was at school all day too.  I wasn't home to wash any laundry," I explained when M. jumped into the conversation.

"What do you think that Mommy's an octopus?"

I laughed out loud at her very smart comment.  And yes, some days I wish that I was an octopus!

"We can wash your new clothes tonight," I told them, imagining what I'd look like as an octopus and all that could get accomplished ...


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

{sols} deep breath

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This is a deep breath kind of moment.

Just a day before a new year begins.
Anticipation of the what's to come.

Smiling faces walking through the school doors.
A fresh start.  To begin again a year older.

Brand new clothes and shoes and backpack and supplies.
A missing tooth grin.  Fancy hairdo.  Looking too cute.

Excited to be with friends in a new class with a new teacher.
Nervous about the newness of it all.  Ready to start.

Me? I'm ready to foster new and old relationships.
To show them I care.  Wanting to make the difference.

To read and write and laugh together.
To laugh and write and read together.

Take risks, dare greatly, show some grit.
Learn from each other.  Make mistakes and push on. 

Butterflies of excitement of what is to come.
Just a day before a new year begins.

This is a deep breath kind of moment.

And I can't wait until Wednesday.  {Smiles.}

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

{sols} last days of summer

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The last days of summer are almost here.
Soon it will be time to trade in ...

Late sleepy mornings
Busy but no-rush days
Vacations away
Play at new neighborhood parks
Swimming lessons
Trips to the library
Grandma time
Bike rides around town
Craft and project days
Movie nights in the living room
Catching fire flies
Later bedtimes

For all the back-to-school routines ...

Earlier wake ups
Lights on, rise and shine
"Let's go!" mornings
Quick hugs-n-kisses drop off
Long, long days apart
Dreaming about summer ways
Missing the small moments
Thinking about our time
Rushing home for pick up
Squeezing what we can
In the late hours of the evening
Before early to bed, again

Until next week, we'll enjoy our time together.
The last days of summer are almost here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Possibilities #pb10for10

Check out other favorite Picture Book Lists at

Every year that I have participated in the #pb10for10 -- sharing ten (yes, only ten!) picture books that I could not live without in my classroom -- I usually shared my here-are-my-now-favorite ten picture books.  My lists had some standby solid favorites sprinkled with a few newer titles.  Never once had I thought about a theme like many of the other smart picture book lovers that were sharing.  This year I thought I would stand my ground and share my right now favorites.

And then I got to thinking a little more.

Oh, the possibilities ...


What Do You Do with an Idea?
1.  Possibility of IDEA:  
What Do You Do With an Idea? 
by Kobi Yamada

Love the possibilities of ideas that grow! A gift of nurturing your dreams, being unsure to share, watching them grow!  Just a beautiful story accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.  Let the ideas flourish!  Something I want to encourage in my children and my students.

2.  Possibility of WONDER:
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert EinsteinOn a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein 
by Jennifer Berne

An important book to encourage children to never stop asking questions, wonder, think, and asking more questions about all things BiG and small.  Kids already have this natural curiosity and we need to continue to foster and encourage that wonder and questioning in the classrooms.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend3.  Possibility of IMAGINATION:
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend 
by Dan Santat

Everyone needs a friend, even an imaginary friend is looking for a friend.  Beekle courageously sets out to find his perfect match to do the unimaginable.  Loved all the imagination that Dan Santat used in creating this book.  (Fabulous illustrations!)  And Beekle is just too adorable!

4.  Possibility of HOPE:
Fly Away HomeFly Away Home by Eve Bunting

This is one book that has stayed on my list.  A touching story about a father and son living in an airport trying to live unnoticed.  This story is full of hope and a future beyond the glass doors of the airport, especially after the boy watches a trapped bird is freed.  It's sure to allow for many questions and wonderings.

The Invisible Boy5.  Possibility of KINDNESS:
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

This is one story that will never, ever be forgotten.  A heartprint book. (Oh, that would have been a great idea for a book list!) A story that needs to be shared in every classroom.  No one wants to feel invisible, especially Brian.  Yet, there are many students that feel invisible even in our own classrooms.  This is one story that tells about the power of one little, "Hello." The words and illustrations work together beautifully to tell the story about the invisible boy.

6.  Possibility of OPPORTUNITY:
Each KindnessEach Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Another heartprint book.  A perfect pair with The Invisible Boy.  We all know a Maya.  The new girl who wanted to be invisible because of Chloe and her friends.  Chloe wasn't an outright bully, but little things like ignoring, whispering, laughing still hurt.  A lot.  However, Chloe learned a BIG lesson about kindness, but after it was too late.  (A powerful activity to see and remember the scars of bullying: The Crumpled Paper.)

The Lion and the Bird

7. Possibility of FRIENDSHIP:
The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

I was taken by surprise by this book.  The simplicity of the text.  The unlikely friendship between the lion and the bird.  The lion's kindness.  The hope of goodness.  The soft, beautiful illustrations. So much to enjoy in this book.

8. Possibility of JUSTICE:
The Day the Crayons QuitThe Day the Crayons Quit 
by Drew Daywalt

If only the crayons could talk!  This book holds so many possibilities!  Every crayon shares a frustration with crayon box owner Duncan. And they are just not happy.  Quite amusing to read from their point of view.  Laugh out loud funny.  (A great mentor text too!)

Bear Has a Story to Tell
9.  Possibility of STORY:
Bear Has a Story to Tell 
by Philip C. Stead

Not your average bear book -- and there are a lot of bear books out there!  A story about Bear who is so sweet, so kind, so patient, so willing to help his little animal friends prepare for winter, even when he wants to tell his story before everyone is asleep ...

10.  Possibility of POSSIBILITIES:
The Most Magnificent ThingThe Most Magnificent Thing 
by Ashley Spires

All the possibilities are held in the creation of the most magnificent thing.  The struggles, the in-betweens, the wanting to give up, the sticking-with-it, the triumphs ... This books holds the power of teaching creativity and perseverance -- and even a little lesson about making mistakes. The perfect book for the perfect time - and I love that the main character is a girl!

*After thought:  I was amazed after compiling this list that the illustrations play such a crucial role in the power of a picture book story. (I know that's why they call it a picture book, but not all picture books were created equal.)  Almost every one of the titles I added to my POSSIBILITIES list was included because of the words and complimentary (and usually beautiful) illustrations. 

Oh, the POSSIBILITIES picture books bring into our lives.  
Enjoy ALL the possibilities today!

My previous #pb10for10 {non-thematic} selections:
2013                    2012                    2011


Be sure to check out other favorite #pb10for10 picture books at
On Twitter: #pb10for10

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

{sols} solo shopping

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These days I never make the time to shop.  With two four year olds, slow-pace-easy-shopping is rare.  Let's just say I do plenty of online shopping.

However, today the girls and I took the fifteen minute drive to our local IKEA.  The girls have been asking to go to the play land.  Every time we shop at IKEA (again, rare), there is a long line of kids waiting.  We end up shopping together as a family.  Well, the quick version due to endless whining, "I wanna go home!" 

I thought we'd try visiting during the week when maybe it wasn't as busy.  We were sort of right: there was a wait to get into the play land, but only 15 minutes.  We sat.  We waited. We people watched.  And then finally the girls' names were called.  Shoes kicked off.  Kisses on the cheek goodbye.  And they were off and playing.

It felt strange leaving them, but I turned around acting like all was okay.   I was on the search for a few baskets, picture frames, and a lamp.  I walked away reminding myself that I n-e-v-e-r shop by myself, enjoy it.

Except, I didn't know what to do.  I wandered endlessly in this large store.  Usually, I'm eyeing cute (or practical) items for home or for school.  Filling my cart with stuff that I don't really need as my hubby rolls his eyes.

Not today. Nothing caught my eye.  Nothing stopped me for another look.  Nothing placed in my cart.

Instead, I continuously checked the time on my phone.  Waiting for my free hour to be up.  And I realized that I forgot how to solo shop. (My hubby was happy with the free shopping trip.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

{sols} similar, but different

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"Similar, but different."

We have always said that about our twin daughters all their life (all four years of it!).  In so many ways, they are similar, yet they are still very different.  That's what I love about them.  They each have their own unique qualities that make them who they are.  I want them to be their own person.  We encourage them to be their own person.

This year we started swim lessons.  P. was terrified of the water.  M. wanted to jump right in.  P. is more comfortable in the water now, and M. is more careful (she's worried about swallowing water).  P. has taken a liking to swimming and is progressing in her lessons.  This week her swim teacher wanted her to use a lighter yellow flotation device.  M. enjoys lessons, but is still building her swimming muscle memory and strength.  She was sad when she couldn't use the same new yellow flotation device as her sister.

I had to explain in four year old words why she was still using the blue flotation and why P. was using the yellow flotation.  I had to wipe away tears.  I had to encourage her to keep practicing and build those swimming muscles so that she could use the yellow flotation.  I had to remind her that they each have their strengths and they aren't the same at everything.  I had to remind her that the other little girls in the class were still using the blue flotation.  

I had to tell her that she couldn't use the same flotation as her sister, yet.  

That little word yet is so important in our house.  I want my daughters to have a growth mindset and the belief that they can do anything they put their mind to -- and not be fixed into thinking they can't do something.  With time and practice and belief, they can do anything!

So ...  Two days of tears.  Two days of lots and lots of encouragement.  Two days of convincing her to use the blue flotation.  Two days of pep talks to get her into the pool. 

We'll get through this and she will eventually be ready for the yellow flotation. 

However, my next fear?  That P. will advance to the next level of swim lessons, but M. will not!  (Yet.)

"Similar, but different."  And that's okay.   We all need the constant reminders.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild - Part 3 Link-Up

Scroll to the bottom of this post and 
share your specific blog URL using the InLinkz link.

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This summer a big (really BIG!) group of educators and wild readers are devouring Donalyn Miller's newest book.   I am participating and co-hosting this year's #cyberPD event about cultivating wild readers in our classrooms.  Please join us as we read and discuss online:

Reading in the Wild: 
The Book Whisperer's Keys to 
Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits 
by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley

You can participate in the #cyberPD conversations this week too:
  • Share your thinking on your blog about chapters 5 and the appendices.  Then share your specific url link right here at Literacy Learning Zone. Scroll to the bottom of this post and share your specific blog URL using the InLinkz link.
  • No blog?  Leave your thoughts in the host's comment section on the blog.
  • Easily read through a compilation of all the #cyberPD posts on the                     Reading in the Wild #cyberPD 2014 Jog the Web

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"Dedicating time to read, self-selecting books, building relationships with other readers, making reading plans, and developing their own reading preferences, our students feel empowered and capable enough to continue reading away from school.  Their reading lives belong to them, and they don't need us.
They are wild readers now." (Miller, p.193)

My Thoughts and Reflections/Implications in My Classroom
As a wild reader, I think I know my preferences pretty well as a reader.  I know my likes (fiction/picture books/nonfiction PD) and why, my dislikes (nonfiction/science fiction), my preferences (genre/authors I love/series -- if the first book hooked me), and even my book gaps (transitional chapter books/middle grade).  As far as favorite books?  I agreed with this wild reader: "...it's often what I have recently read that stays vivid" (p.165).  Usually, my favorite book is that last book that I loved. I have many favorites, but I don't always remember why -- except that I loved it.  The story, the characters, the writing moved me and stayed with me for a long, long time.

I have been known to say (many times): "Here!  Read this!  I loved it.  Read it!"  Never mind the fact that I don't provide a preview stack or allow any choice.  I just shoved a favorite book of mine into the hands of a reader without a reason why beyond my feelings book love.  However, "we cannot let our personal reading preferences become biases that limit students' reading" (p.167).  Yikes!  This is an easy trap to fall into!  (And I'm guilty of it!!!)

SOLUTION: Continue to read widely because "reading advisors ... know a lot about books that appeal to all types of readers" (p.167).

Conversations with students need to also include discussions about reading preferences and knowing that our preferences can change over the course of a year and a lifetime of reading. This was a big aha: "Asking students to examine and share their reading preferences created a reflective opportunity that celebrated their reading accomplishments and growth" (p.166).  I can honestly say that I have never looked deeply at preferences before -- I'm usually just happy that my developing readers are reading!   

But talking, determining preferences, and being explicit about what readers prefer needs to be known by the reader too.  I think most developing readers have little knowledge about what they like and why or what they prefer to read.  However, "preferences are not always informed opinions" (p.167).  Yes, so true.  The majority of my reading conversations with developing readers are very similar to the vague generalizations examples provided (p.167-168).  I believed the readers to be reading, but in reality, these preferences really told me my students' haven't read much.

SOLUTION: Continue listening when students share about books and learn to carefully dig deeper.  Learn about their likes and dislikes.  Provide books that meet their interests.  Stretch readers beyond their comfort zone.  No more vague responses!

I appreciated how Donalyn went deeper into the power of hooking readers on graphic novels and the important role they play in our classrooms.  There definitely needs to be more discussions in our schools and classrooms about how graphic novels can support all readers.  In addition, Donalyn's explanation of why and how nonfiction reading changes through school was eye opening.  "As with any other type of text, we must look for meaningful ways to incorporate nonfiction material in our classrooms if we want children to read more of it" (p.179).  Yes, this just makes sense!  

SOLUTION: Because nonfiction is one of my areas of avoidance, I need to challenge myself to incorporate the activities suggested on pages 180-181 to increase students' nonfiction reading skills, access, and motivation for reading it.  Oh, and I need to read more nonfiction too!

The entire "Reading Habits Conference" section in my wild reading book is tagged and marked up.  Conferring isn't easy, but Donalyn's clear examples and suggestions were eye opening.  I know that I need to make my record keeping work for me noting what I see and hear about various reading habits: preferences, engagement, record keeping, commitment, and self-selection.  I will definitely be returning back to this section again and again throughout the school year.

I'm still thinking about the forms provided in the appendices.  Working with primary students, many of these forms would be overwhelming and take away from the real meaning of the sharing on the forms.  However, I do believe many of the forms can be created as anchor charts to document the reading life of the classroom.

SOLUTION:  Using a gradual release of responsibility approach, I can model and explain the genre graph and then enlist the students to help with our classroom record keeping.  The reading habits reflections can be used more as interview questions and conversation starters when conferring with readers.  Very usable forms, but more scaffolding and modeling will be necessary for my K-5 developing readers to reflect and think like a reader!

I loved these two minimal changes Donalyn suggested that make a BIG impact:  students keep reading while Donalyn reviews and jots notes about the student's reading notebook and changing the term student/name to reader and writer.  Love it!  (Easy too!)

Donalyn just gets it.  And now our mission continues:  Together let's nurture wild readers!

"Who knew, Mrs. Miller? Who knew that reading would be something I was good at?  Teary-eyed, I gave her a squeeze: 'I knew, Allison, I always knew. 
And now you know it, too. (p.197)

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share your voice!

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The #cyberPD conversation is not over!
Join us on July 30th @ 7 PM (CST) Twitter Chat with Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks)

Read.  Reflect.  Share.  Respond to others.  Then repeat.

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Click "Add your Link" button below to share the specific blog URL for your #cyberPD 
Reading in the Wild - Part 3 reflections. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{sols} a chat + a book (or two)

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My parents live far away and they don't get to see my four year old girls very often.  Our lives are busy and we always seem to be on the go.  Trying to stay connected is always a challenge.

But I know they want to see the girls whenever or however they can.

One way we visit is through using Skype.  It's difficult finding the time some weeks.  It's hard to entice them to sit long enough to share a story.  But they haven't seen the girls since our Florida vacation in June.

Sunday after church we had time to visit with Grammy and Grampy.  I called first so they could set up their computer.  As we waited, I whispered about what we could talk about and share.  The girls settled onto two chairs with their baby dolls in hand.  I sat on the side, out of the picture.

The computer rang and I clicked the green video button.  We heard their voices before their faces popped up on the screen.

The girls smiled and talked with Grammy and Grampy.  They asked questions, the girls answered.  M. was quite the story teller talking about her hospital visit and their baby dolls with no names and the books we recently picked up from the library.  She wanted me to find her new favorite book.

I stepped out of the living room in search of the book and returned with M. standing up, grabbing the book out of my hands, asking to read it to Grammy. Turning each page, she gleefully retold the book "Naked" by Michael Ian Black.  She laughed showing Grammy each silly page about the little boy who loved being naked.

By now P. snuck out of the room to pick a couple of books to share.  Her new favorites are written by Jan Thomas.  We checked out all of her books from the library.  We read "A Birthday for Cow" together.  She wanted to get the words just right, but could not always remember.  She looked to me for help, a little frustrated.

M. zipped out to find more books.  She carried a stack of books into the living to share.  It was her turn to share a Jan Thomas book, "Pumpkin Trouble."  She quickly turned each page (without really letting Grammy see the pictures) laughing at the duck who fell into the pumpkin scaring his friends.  I smiled in delight at her excitement to read and share books with their Grandma, who is also an avid reader  We all share that common book love.

I looked at the stack of picture books waiting to be shared and knew we wouldn't be able to read them all.  It was time for our chat to conclude.  We said our goodbyes.  Blew kisses and gave squeezes.

"I love you, Grammy and Grampy!" They shouted.  "Bye!"  They were off and running, and the screen went black.

I understand why this time is so precious to my parents.  What a treasure to see their two (smart!) four year old granddaughters talking up a storm and reading them books!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild - Part 2

This summer a big (really BIG!) group of educators and wild readers are devouring Donalyn Miller's newest book.   I am participating and co-hosting this year's #cyberPD event about cultivating wild readers in our classrooms.  Please join us as we read and discuss online:

Reading in the Wild: 
The Book Whisperer's Keys 
to Cultivating Lifelong 
Reading Habits 
by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley

You can participate in the #cyberPD conversations this week too:
  • Share your thinking on your blog about chapters 3 and 4.  Then share your specific url link on Laura's blog at Ruminate and Invigorate 
  • No blog?  Leave your thoughts in the host's comment section on the blog.
  • Easily read through a compilation of all the #cyberPD posts on the                     Reading in the Wild #cyberPD 2014 Jog the Web

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My Thoughts and Reflections/Implications in My Classroom and School

"If we want children to read more, we must provide them with classrooms, libraries, and homes where reading is the norm. (Miller, p.91)

"The most effective reading teachers are teachers who read." (Miller, p.106)

So much rich goodness in these chapters!  I'm book happy!  I'm living the wild reading life (not as wild as you think).  I live with readers, even if they are four years old.  They love to read and have been known to share these wise words at the dinner table, "Mommy, books are like friends."  My mom is a reader.  I encouraged her to start a blog and keep a record of the books she reads and include her thoughts.  My friends are readers.  We read, we talk, we share titles, we read some more, and sometimes we compare the book to the movie for a night out.  I am also thankful for my online epicenter readers. (Click the link to share and thank an #EpicenterReader today on Twitter.)  I am a member of the  #nerdybookclub and share my reading life on Goodreads. I even own silly Elephant & Piggie, Scaredy Squirrel, Very Hungry Caterpillar, and other various READ shirts to express my reading passions. 

I get this wild reading thing.  Now, I need to consistently work on transferring all these wild ideas to my classroom and school.

Donalyn's description of her classroom (p.89) is what I envision and hope for in my classroom.  Creating a community first.  Developing relationships full of trust and support.  Students seeing themselves as learners, readers, and writers because they know that I believe in them.  

My concerns?  My developing readers are struggling with reading.  Period.  There are no deep conversations about writer's craft, breath-taking use of words, or graffiti walls filled with memorable quotes.  There are no impromptu book commercials.  Or planning for future reading.  Any and all book talk is usually coming from me through read alouds, modeling, and sharing my book love.  

In addition, my developing readers' parents, friends, and even teachers are not all wild readers sharing a passion and love for books.  I'm trying to figure out my role and responsibilities as a reading specialist in my little corner of the school.  Thankfully, my students are still so young and impressionable, and the love of NOT reading is not influenced by peers ... yet.

My biggest concern (year after year)? (I'm not trying to be judgmental or point fingers, but rather be honest with what I notice happening -- or not happening -- in my school.)  "Children must receive constant encouragement for reading.  It takes more than one classroom with one teacher for one year" (p.90).  I feel like many teachers that I work with are at the stage of just telling kids to go read "and not that book!" Many depend only on AR levels and reports to determine independent reading.  Many are not nurturing and cultivating readers within a reading community that showers students with reading glory all day long.  

I think we are in dire need of a Reading in the Wild school-wide INTERVENTION book study!  

"What's your bottom line? What do you really want to happen for your students? Now, how does what you do every day serve that bottom line? 
(Jeff Wilhelm, p.89)

Deep breath.  I can only do so much and I need to remember my bottom line: creating readers that enjoy to read.  I need to remind myself that I am doing a lot for my developing readers by creating a reading community (even if it's a short 40 minutes) and emerging my students in positive, shared reading experiences: reading aloud, sharing book titles, talking about reading, allowing choice when picking books from my classroom library, and begin creating short-term reading plans, like what to read next.  I now realize that I need to share MORE of my reading life with my students to continually show the power and impact of reading on my life.

And then I think again about the school reading community ...  

Inline image 1
I am (with my colleagues Chris and Karen) trying to create a school-wide reading community.  We created a bulletin board at the beginning of last year posting a picture of every staff member with their favorite read.  Chris and I started a segment on our morning broadcast called Book Talk Tuesdays (read more HERE, HERE from Chris, and HERE from Lynn).  We shared book titles, medal winners, strategies about reading, but the highlight was the reader interviews.  Students completed an application and we scheduled time to meet with the guest readers to create a script and dig deeper into their reading lives.  This was a HUGE success and created that buzz about reading and books throughout the school.  It was eye opening for me to have conversations with wild readers in my school as my conversations with my developing readers are just, well, different.  We were instant celebrities, and ofter heard students comment: "Hey, I saw you on TV!"  "It's Book Talk Tuesday today!  Yea!" "Why can't it be Book Talk Everyday?"

Before every break, I talk with my students about making reading plans.  But for my developing readers, we can't just talk about it!  Students wrote letters to themselves and their family, like before Spring Break (example of letter), and agreed to post the letter/plan in a visible spot in our homes to remind us to keep reading.  (Remember, as developing readers, that IS our challenge!) We stacked up on books and filled book bags to be sure that everyone had books to read.  Before summer break, we also created detailed reading plans too!  (Considering Who? What? Where? When? and Why do we need (and want!) to keep reading?)  

In addition, our school planned "The Great Summer Reading Book Give Away"!  Every student hand-picked 3-4 books of their choice to take home, read this summer, and add to their personal home library.  Books compliments of Title I funding.

Inline image 1This summer we wanted to also provide additional books for students throughout the summer.  We created a cart full of donated books:  our version of  "Readbox" with crates of books ready to fill the cart back up!  But this has failed due to new flooring in the school vestibule where the books were to be available for families to browse.  The access to books was denied ... and the books are still waiting to find new homes.

For the first time, we are offering Frost Summer Learning 

Nights at our school every Tuesday evening.  We bring crates of books, some blankets, and we sit outside the school for families to join us in an evening of reading.  (Or a play a math game, create a chalk drawing, and write a poem.)  We planned these events for every Tuesday this summer (9 total) and have averaged about 8 to 12 families.  We are always hoping to reach more families to stay connected.  Last year, we invited only our resource students to meet us at the local library that wasn't very local for our families.  We averaged about 4-6 families.  Upon reflection, this is improvement!

So, as much as I struggle with not being able to do enough, I can clearly celebrate!  I'm feeling a little better, but you know I'm always thinking of what is next ...  

Questions to Ponder

1.  Reflection practice/forms for developing primary readers:  Throughout the book, Donalyn recommends wild readers reflect on their reading experiences.  I'm struggling with how this might look at the primary levels, especially with the developing readers who will honestly say, "I didn't read last night."  How do we develop ownership for reading when reluctant and/or developing readers don't read?

2. Parental connection:  Furthermore, many of us realize the importance of informing parents of the importance of reading and setting a reading example at home.  I get it.  Home life is busy.  Parents are working one, maybe two jobs.  We are running kids here and there.  Don't forget the appointment and grocery shopping.  But allowing our children the gift of seeing parents read and spending time together reading is so important.  It is in our realm to empower our parents to help us create wild readers.  Several of the #cyberPD participants connected through the comments and conversations that this is one area that we want to develop parent workshops to help support reading in meaningful ways.  I'm excited about this collaboration!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share your voice!

"Focusing on our goals provides clarity of purpose and reduces our willingness to compromise the real work of our classrooms: helping children develop their capacity to have meaningful lives filled with purpose and joy. (Miller, p.90)

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July 9th   Chapters 1-2 Hosted by Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine
July 16th  Chapters 3-4 Hosted by Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate
July 23rd  Chapter 5 & Appendices Hosted by me! Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone
July 30th @ 7 PM (CST) Twitter Chat with the author Donalyn Miller

Read.  Reflect.  Share.  Respond to others.  Then repeat.