I'm excited to be in a virtual book club with Cathy Mere (Reflect and Refine), Laura Komos (Ruminate and Invigorate) and Michelle Nero (Literacy Learning Zone) and many others. We've chosen to read Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller and Susan Kelley.
Please share your thoughts on Cathy's Post! Here are my thoughts on Chapters 1 & 2:
This fall, I'm moving from reading support to 1st grade. This will be my first classroom experience since student teaching many years ago. I'm excited to have a whole class to learn alongside. I will have a mix of strong and developing readers. A few quotes from Donalyn resonated with me as I try to design our literacy block and create goals for our classroom community.
"Our students must see themselves as readers, or they will never embrace reading beyond school." (p.9)
I am so excited to have first graders. They have a great love for school, books and characters (Elephant! Piggie!). My job is to empower all of them to read like crazy, both in and out of school. I am thinking of asking my mom to sew colorful book bags so that everyone has a bag to keep their books. I plan to teach each student to keep a book with them at all times so they don't miss out on any reading opportunities.
I'm also planning to pick the brains of every primary teacher I know to figure out how first graders can best keep track of their reading (to be proud!) and respond to reading. I've been an avid user of Kidblog with my intermediate students, and I hope to help my first graders navigate blogging as a way to have conversations with peers and parents about their reading.
I was not surprised to read that Donalynn reads aloud to her middle school students every day. I see read aloud time as a non-negotiable part of my literacy block. I remember hearing author Jim Aylesworth speak about his first day teaching first grade. He discovered that the secret to keeping his students engaged was through read alouds.
"They (read alouds) provide prime opportunities to introduce students to genres they often avoid, like poetry, biographies, and nonfiction." (p. 49)
I will use read alouds to make sure my reading diet, and my students' reading diets, are balanced. Poetry is especially fun to read and short non-fiction is great for curious first grade minds. Biographies can help our littlest learners understand why we don't have school on Columbus Day.
I plan to have a whole bucket of my favorite read alouds, and I will encourage my students to share their favorite books from home. I'm trying to figure out how to best track our read alouds... perhaps an infographic of the book covers? Maybe a list? I am hoping to enlist the help of our library staff in labeling some shelves in the library with character pictures (The Pigeon, Babymouse, Katie Woo) to better help our youngest readers (and English learners) find favorite books.
Yes, my head is swimming with all the ideas and questions and hopes and dreams for my first grade classroom. I hope you are excited about returning to school with lots of ideas from Donalynn and Susan, as well as all the other bloggers!
Thanks for stopping by... I welcome all your ideas, comments and gems!