Monday, October 1, 2012

Back to Books, Local PD

I just got in from a busy day ending on an enjoyable note.  I am fortunate to belong to The Literacy Connection, a hometown grass roots effort for growing professionally.  This group started with five teachers in 1982 and continues providing a supportive learning environment for local educators.   This year our work, conversations and guest speaker are centered around the theme, Back to Books!  Keeping Children's Literature at the Heart of the Curriculum.  With the shift in curriculum, I find this title enjoyable and much needed.  A breath of fresh air as people become reactive creating, publishing, and purchasing new teaching resources.  I think this will help us slow down, look at what we already have to use and not lose sight of using children's literature.  

Tonight we were fortunate to spend a couple of hours at Cover to Cover an independent local bookstore with the brilliant book owner, Sally Oddi.  Sally knows books.  Sally knows readers.  Sally knows how to talk about books, leaving you with the feeling you need each one.  Even if they aren't just right for your grade level or students you can find someone who needs that book she just talked about.

Tonight Sally had some wise nuggets of information for us all.

-quoting Donalyn Miller, "Get your kids reading real books."
-"Nonfiction is getting its time."
-"Questioning exercises should take them back to the book.  Use the book."
-"Our constant goal is to stretch the ability to read with information."

Notice the key word with information not for information.  I think the word with indicates the process of reading and not just reading for answers.  Thank you Sally for always welcoming and sharing new books with us.

I look forward to sharing more of this journey with you this year.  We will be thinking about ELL students in the reading workshop, documenting children's work, choosing books for minilessons, poetry, children's literature and the Common Core, and then we end our workshop series by spending a day with Donalyn Miller learning and reflecting after reading her text, The Book Whisperer.

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