Monday, February 11, 2013

The Book Whisperer - Reflection #5

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller is the focus for this year and the Literacy Connection group here in Central Ohio.  As I read Chapter 5 – titled "Walking the Walk,"  I reflected on my own thinking about reading and being a reader.  If we are role models than we better know our own reading lives and be willing to share these with our students.  I found this very easy to do with third graders.  I  probably don't share my own reading life with my kindergarten students very much but to tell them I am sharing a favorite book of mine with them.  They are smart and have caught on that most of the books I share with them are my favorites and I have too many.  But are these really my favorites or my favorites when working with this age group?  It would seem appropriate and natural to have favorites for the various grades of ages we work with.

Efferent and aesthetic stances on reading are two terms I've never heard of before.  The efferent stance is seeing reading as a means to gather new information.  The aesthetic stance deals with the emotions felt while reading and the journey one's mind takes while reading.  I loved this from Donalyn, "...teachers who have an aesthetic view of reading have the greatest influence on their students' motivation and interest in reading (Ruddell, 1995) and have more impact on the long-term reading habits of their students...."  It's so important to make sure our reading instruction includes the aesthetic view of reading.  

In thinking about my own inner reader, I find it hard to balance the efferent and aesthetic views in my own life.  I say that and then think maybe they are balanced because I find joy in reading new information, professional books.  Then I think they are not balanced because I tend to focus on professional reading and save aesthetic reading for vacations or breaks from school.  Either way, I enjoy reading very much and want to portray that to all my students at any age.  I found the "Reading Improvement Plan" suggestions to be good advice for someone who is busy, busy, busy and lets my own reading slide a bit.  Let's see where I stand with Donalyn's suggestions and hopefully you can ponder where you are.

-Commit to a certain amount of reading per day.  
I read each day my google reader, twitter, txt, and email but I don't read every day from a book if I'm working.

-Choose books to read that are personally interesting to you.  
Yikes, my hand was slapped here, don't read books for school on pedagogy, read for fun.  I did set a goal of one professional and one personal each month.  I better get moving on that for February.

-Read more books for children.
I loved reading children's chapter books when I taught third grade.  It was essential for matching books to readers.  Now that I'm in kindergarten, I find myself reading picture books for kindergarten which aren't quite the same thing.  However, I had my seventh grader today tell me two books I should read and she is often recommending books.  Maybe I should start there because I'd have someone to talk to about the book and this would validate her reading life.

-Take recommendations from your students.
My students are creating and beginning their reading lives.  If someone brings in a book to share, I read it to the class.  I think I should ask them about recommending some books and see what happens.

-Investigate recommendations from industry sources.
I don't usually look at book list but follow many blogs where friends share books that interest me.  Maybe I should look at Donalyn's suggestions for book list and websites.

-Create your own reader's notebook.
I did this when I taught third grade!  

Okay, this chapter makes me wish I was teaching transitional readers again.  I  need to ponder more about these thoughts related to kindergarten.  I am excited to think about my own reading life too, as a model this is an important piece and I need to make it more public to my emerging readers.  I wonder if any of my emerging reader teacher friends have thoughts or suggestions about this area  in our world of early literacy.  I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments.

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