Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reading Can Move Mountains

Boy have I been a slack-o blogger!  I have missed keeping up with all you guys and your awesome ideas, but I have been so stinkin' exhausted everyday that I come home and veg on the couch or read my book and travel off to nappy noo-noo land.  I am hoping that the endless piles of papers to grade, mountains of useless documentation that no one even looks at paperwork I need to do, and the general busyness will settle down soon! If it doesn't, I think I may just have to be committed soon!!!!!

I am so happy that we started a new week today, because I'm SO OVER last week!  My kiddos were great today and we go through all our work for the day (that rarely happens!)  If you read my blog at all, you will know how I LOVE using the reading workshop in my classroom.  Well, my rockin' principal spent the last bit of school money on books for each grade levels classroom libraries!  She went through the common core and picked books out for us.  How many principals do you know that do that???  I didn't know any until now.  She is a jewel I'm telling you.  She gave us probably 40+ new books each for our libraries.  And she also bought several 6-packs of books to use with our book clubs that we are using with our reading workshop units.

As if that wasn't enough, she also bought us each our own copy of  The Book Whisper, by Donalyn Miller.  
I love this book and it validated the changes I had made back in the fall.  If you are looking for a professional read that will challenge you as a teacher, I highly recommend this one.  

So whats going on with Reading Workshop in my classroom???  Well, we are in our 3rd unit of study, which is the series book clubs, and my kids are LOVING THEM!  I have 5 clubs (each a different level) and all of them have moved through 3 books in each of their series and one club has even moved onto a second book series.  I have never had kids love reading so much.  One of my clubs are reading the Fudge series by Judy Blume and they started the 3rd book, Fudge-A-Mania Friday and had finished it by the end of the day today!  When Donalyn Miller talked about her kids 'stealing moments to read' I got chillbumps.  That is now happening in my own classroom, and I couldn't be more thrilled!  

Our school has always used AR and the kids participate halfway for the most part.  I decided that I would be a bigger promoter (even though I disagree with the program) for it.  Before moving to Reading Workshop it wasn't out of the ordinary for several of my kids to take 5-6 tests a week.  One student was taking 10+.  The problem with the books they were testing on was, they were mostly picture books and they were simply reading to take a test.  I haven't outlawed AR in my classroom, my students simply aren't interested in taking quizes.  They prefer to read for the enjoyment of reading.  What a Shock, reading for FUN!!!  

The level of engagement I see with all my students gives me all the validation I need to know that this program is successful.  It makes sense.  If you want kids to read better, give them time to practice reading.  Not just a few minutes but large blocks of time to just read and reflect on what they are reading.  

If you are interested in starting this in your own classroom and want ideas about how to schedule your day, or need ideas about how to teach the reading skills, let me know!



  1. Love The Book Whisperer...I could read it over and over!! !PS my kids absolutely heart Reading Workshop and get mad if we have to cut it short for the day!!! Love that our kids are loving to read!! :) Happy Tuesday!!!!

  2. My kids are the same way! One day last week we had to cut our reading time in half and they were so upset!

    Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

  3. I'm super jealous of your principal. Sounds amazing! I've seen that book before but haven't looked into it much. Hopefully I can soon! Glad to hear that your readers workshop is going great- what a great feeling! : )

  4. I LOVE Book Whisperer and my copy has suddenly gone MIA. I think my BFF "borrowed" it when she came over to retrieve a book that I had "borrowed." I shall retrieve it someday and "borrow" another. And so the cycle continues...

    I want to come work at your school. I have never heard of such an amazing principal! You should let him/her know that buying books puts him/her in the running for the Principal Hall of Fame (well... if there was one!).

    Mrs Poland
    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  5. So true Mrs. Poland! I tell her all the time that when/if she ever leaves I'm joining her wherever!!! It's her first year with us and she isn't afraid to ask for help from staff and admits when she doesn't know something! It's amazing what kind of collaboration happens when the head honcho is human :)

  6. Your principal sounds awesome!

    I'm getting that book, too. I can't wait to read it.

    I'm totally on the same page with you about AR. It's a double-edge sword, really.

    Been missing ya!

    Fun in Room 4B


Twins, Teaching and Tacos


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