I had so many "a-ha!" moments and connections with this chapter, it was impossible to keep track of them all. :-)
I will be entering my 10th year of teaching in August. 10 years of Reader's Workshop. 10 Years of trying to convince children to love reading as much as I do. 10 years of waiting for Donalyn Miller to write a book so I can stop banging my head against a wall. :-) Seriously.
My students have always enjoyed listening to me read. I purposefully choose books I know will be exciting, suspenseful, thought-provoking or funny. I still have plenty of kids each year who "pretend-read,"sleep or misbehave their way through our Reader's Workshop. I think I definitely discovered part of my problem this week: leveled readers.
I'm sure this will cause a few gasps and hopefully a good debate too, but I don't think I'm going to be quite as strict about the kids reading books on their level. (Can you hear the doom and gloom that goes along with that phrase??) I want them to use strategies (5 finger rule, read the first chapter, etc.) to determine if a book is just right for them or not. I don't want their identity as a reader to be all wrapped up in a letter from the alphabet. If they are using their strategies and I am holding them accountable by conferencing with them consistently, then they should be sticking fairly close to their level in their book choices anyway.
I also want to have more meaningful discussions about genre. We have our 9 weeks laid out in a curriculum map already. Do you know how much time we have for genre? One week, cupcakes. I'm thinking I'm going to have to find extra ways to talk about genre - don't you agree?
I found myself nodding my head in agreement when Donalyn mentioned readers who choose "low-brow" texts at first (Captain Underpants, anyone? Goosebumps?). I will admit it. I am a book snob. I am also a hypocrite. I go home and read the very James Patterson thrillers she mentioned!!!! HA! So, guess what else I'm going to do? You got it - add a Captain Underpants and Goosebumps basket to my library. I have to meet those readers somewhere, right?
What are your thoughts? I'm really interested to hear about how you feel about leveled readers in regards to the freedom our kids need to choose their books. How long do you spend teaching genre initially? Do you have any suggestions as to how I can stretch it out without taking away from the other standards I need to teach? I love that I have a new community of teacher peeps I can come to!
PS - Don't forget to enter!