Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild (Part 2)

Thank you Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate for hosting this week's #cyberPD.

Last week and this week while rereading Reading in the Wild, I have found myself reflecting on my own wild reading and how I try to encourage wild reading in my classroom.  I am a wild reader and so glad that I am.  According to Donalyn (as cited in Morrison, Jacobs and Swinyard 1999; McKool and Gespass, 2009) "teachers who read for pleasure are more likely to employ best literacy practices in their classrooms than teachers who do not read for pleasure" (p. 106).

One area that I connected with in Reading in the Wild was creating a reading a door.  I heard Donalyn talk about them several years ago at a teaching conference.  Reading doors are a school wide endeavor at Donalyn's school.  The purpose is so "students would see every teacher, not just the reading teacher, as a reader.  Our doors highlighted our school wide focus on reading and kicked off a year of sharing and discussing texts in every class" (p. 118).  

Below are pictures of my own classroom reading door.  The best part of decorating my classroom door with books I read over the summer is when the kids are lining up, they ask me about specific books.  The door provides me with the opportunity to summarize and give a small book talk while waiting to go to recess or at the end of the day.

As I was thinking through my post this afternoon, I thought of the bags of books in the back of my car ready to go back to the library and the books that are ready to be picked up.  I was also reminded of how wild readers plan ahead (p. 137 and 138). 

According to Donalyn wild readers:
  • Keep to-read stacks of books - My husband isn't very fond of my stacks at home.  I also have stacks of picture books at school.  Kids love browsing them and recommending the best that I should read aloud.
  • Keep a to-read list - I have lists of books to read for pleasure, professional and for the classroom.
  • Reserve books at the library - You can only reserve so many books online at one time.  I often reach my maximum in one sitting. 
  • Preorder new releases, books in a series, or books from favorite authors - I often reserve the books at the library, but have a list of books and their release date ready.  
  • Make use of book award lists - We do this as a family when we travel.  We listen to at least one Newbery Award book on CD (depending on the length of the trip)
While I personally do lots of planning and often model my planning for students.  I struggle with having second grades plan.  Last year I tried doing this before our Christmas break.  It didn't go over as I had anticipated.  I think I need to spend more time talking about how growing readers make plans for reading throughout the year.  For example, having them make daily and weekly plans about their reading.  This would probably build up to planning over longer breaks and lay the foundation for future planning.

One thing that I struggle with in second grade is helping children learn to read while fostering wild readers.  I will continue to think and ponder on this as I finish rereading Donlyn's inspirational book.


  1. Hi Barbara,
    I enjoyed seeing the pic of your door. I think it's hard to turn the planning of reading over to our youngest readers who are just learning how to read! One thing you are doing that they so need is being a great model for them. Maybe share even more of your reading life about how you plan could help them. I just think about the gradual release model and knowing when to take away the scaffolds is so different for each developing reader...thanks for pushing my thinking about what this looks like for primary kiddos.

  2. Barbara, Donalyn's emphasis on wild readers' plans really lingered with me after my first reading of Reading in the Wild. I devoted time to coaching students to make reading plans before Christmas vacation and again in February, and then both times when they returned, we were all disappointed that they had not accomplished their plans. In effect, it was as though their plans--posted on my bulletin board--were out of sight, out of mind with the sound of the last bell on Friday. Reflecting again now, with some distance, I realize I probably didn't spend enough time coaching beyond identifying books/titles they wanted to read. I need to do more work in coaching the kiddos about where to find time and how to make sure they keep their commitment to reading. Hmm... There is probably a parent/family education piece embedded in there, too-I probably need to better communicate with families about reading plans for breaks (and in general!). Thanks for bringing me back to this.

  3. Barbara,
    Donalyn's discussion of the significance of reading plans really caught my attention as well. One of the things I've noticed since joining Twitter and becoming a part of its reading community, is the way I always have a plan. I used to hesitate between books. What would I read next? Sometimes I would go days, weeks, and even months before picking up my next read. Now, as soon as I finish one book the next one is waiting in my Kindle, on my shelf, or in my Shelfari account. There's always a next. It has made a big difference in the amount of reading I do. I hadn't really thought about it's significance until reading Donalyn's book. Now, to transfer this idea over to the readers I sit beside each day.

    Cathy (sorry to be late)