Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fall in love with reading

In Kathy Collins' book Growing Readers she mentions that when she has teachers, principals, and staff developers come together she asks them a key starting question:
"Would you take a few minutes to think back on your reading events you remember- the good ones, the bad ones, and don't forget the ugly." As teachers begin to share their stories they realize an important key: many of the awful "ugly" experiences they share happen at school! She says, "it seems that most of the happy reading events happened outside of school." If I think back through my years of learning how to read I can relate, as I am sure you can.

In college my reading professor asked us a very similiar question on the first day. She asked, "How did you learn to read?" My answer was hard in coming out because I honestly couldn't remember being taught the skills. I said that it just happened naturally. My parents always read to me, took me to the library, had me read the mail while my mother was cooking dinner, etc. It was natural, it just occured. And then I read Charlotte's Web and the rest was history. I couldn't put books down. I read things that were not appropriate for a fifth grader, I just couldn't get enough. Ms. Collins goes on to say, "The point I was to make is that many of us grown to love reading in spite of what happened in school, not because of it."

I have a challenge for my readers, whomever you may be, mother, teacher, facilitator, etc.
1. How did you learn to read?
2. What are some of your reading memories, good, bad, and ugly?
3. How will knowing these things change how you teach reading to your children?

Kathy Collins finally says, "I believe that we primary-grade teachers have an important dual challenge. We need to teach children how to read, but we also need to teach them how to fall in love with reading."

Take the challenge, write your answers and begin to share.


Jen Barney said...

1. Reading was one subject that I have always felt secure with. I loved books, I loved listening to my teachers read to us. My grandmother was the one who taught me to really read. Beyond the basics. She would sit and talk to us about stories- especially stories from Poland.
The good: Mrs. Flora Junior English class. We read some great books. The Giver, my favorite, was the first discussion a teacher held since I was in school. It was wonderful. She made me fall in love with the stories and the words behind them.
THE BAD: Not having a teacher that gave me the drive to look beyond just reading it and answering some questions.

Sarah Amick said...

I have a couple of posts that have come out of my reader's notebook that have really helped me come to some realizations. I was hoping to share them with everyone this week. It was a really great reading and writing moment to collect the good, bad,and ugly and then reflect. I would have loved the stories from Poland. What a rich growing up you had. Such history!

Jen Barney said...

opps- forgot #3.
Very good question. How will knowing these things help us help our treasures. I think how we know ourselves and our reading past can help us connect and draw closer to our students understanding.
We look at those great moments and make them better, we look at the ugly moments and realize what we will NEVER do to our students. We live, reflect, understand, and learn. The more we do of that, the better we can focus on our students needs & what best practices look like.

Sarah Amick said...

How often are we reflective? Do you think any of the teachers at H. have done this type of thinking? What if we sent out an email before we do our two-hour delay and then have them sit in groups and reflect on good reading teaching? Do you think they would do it?

Jen Barney said...

Sure- they would- NOT! I don't know. It is a GREAT idea. And I put this in my Writers Notebook to continue later this evening.... I don't know if some know how to reflect. Ask Kirsten what she thinks....

Sarah Amick said...

Kirsten, when you read this comment. What do you think for the two hour delay about these questions? Do you think that they would reflect?

Kirsten said...

1. Reading was a subject that I never enjoyed. Comprehension wasn't my forte. I was the kind of reader who could read just about anything, but remember nothing. I would begin to read and think about other things, before I knew it I had 3 pages "read" and didn't rememeber any of it. I have grown to appreciate reading since. It is something that I have to work at and give myself peptalks to make myself read and remind myself I enjoy it.
I think that many teachers at H. simply don't fully comprehend the value of reflection, therefore, would buck at it.
Are you all available for lunch on Thursday after our inservice to discuss "reading things"? I am itching to do it. Sooner if you are available. Maybe Highergrounds. They have wifi. Let me know

Sarah Amick said...

What about Tuesday? I have to pick up my kids on Thursday. I was thinking evening? I would meet at Higher grounds for the wifi. I can stay later and not worry about childcare. That would be great.

Cathy said...

First of all, have a white chocolate mocha for me...yum! Okay, 1. I learned to read...hmmmm, how did that happen? I know my mom read to me a lot when I was little and then I would "read" to my little sister. I think exposure and seeing positive attitudes about reading from the adults in my life.

2. The good - Mrs. Knoop reading to us in 2nd grade. A college professor reading a picture book before every class (and don't come in during her reading if you're late - that showed it was important). The bad - reading so much text in college and not being able to absorb what was really important - fighting over the debate between whole language and phonics rather than discussing what you can do

3. Knowing these things obviously helps me in my classroom by continually exposing my kids to a great selection of literature and next year, I want to make it more of an expectation that during my reading, you do not get up to get a drink or use the restroom...hear, hear!

Sarah, it was great meeting you! As I'm writing this commment, I can picture you and Jen going back and forth about your conversations. My advice as for the teachers who just don't get it, yet!, maybe ask teachers the second question and ease them in...I don't know them, but allowing them to not be defensive is always the best option, right? Have fun reading that book, I need to finish it!

Sarah Amick said...

Thank you Cathy. I know about the getting up to get a drink. I always ask, "where are you going?" They say, "to get a ..." and I say, "No you're not!"
At this point the whole read-aloud is shot and pointless I believe. I am going to work on establishing a procedure!
I hope that Jen and I weren't too overwhelming with our conversation. We were just so excited about being there and meeting you!
Growing readers is good but I really like Reading for Meaning better!