Sunday, April 8, 2012

Currently Reading


“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” Mark Twain

Before I share what I am currently reading let's have a little "flashback."

I have been re-educating myself this year as a teacher.  After teaching of 20 years, I have felt that I always did my best as a teacher...but did I?  I have spent this year making major changes in my teaching practices with a focus on Reading.

It has been a long time since I have been in college and as we all know, education is always changing.  I try to keep current through workshops, articles, colleagues, etc.  I have seen many trends come and go.  I was very comfortable with my basal, read aloud, mini-lessons and guided reading groups.  A new grade level has made me step up to the plate and re-assess my practices.

I was inspired by several teachers, Tina, Christine and Traci, at my school to read, "The Daily Five" and "The Cafe" over the summer and I attended a conference with "The Sisters" in the fall.  I implemented the practices in the beginning of the school year.(Read my previous post)  Things went smoothly and my children caught on to the routines quickly.   I then read the "The Book Whisperer."   (Read my post.) My beliefs as a reading teacher and a reader were changed forever! 
My next book was "Mosaic of Thought."  The strategies that were outlined made me reflect on my own reading and how my students can develop a deeper comprehension while reading.  I had many "Aha" moments while reading.  The strategies can be used through whole group, small group and independent reading.  They can be used in all genres and text formats.  We need to teach children how to develop comprehension so they can have success in all academic areas. 

I have always taught the strategies in this book but they were more isolated and I did not always emphasize the importance(now I understand the purpose).  I needed to model these strategies with my reading and teach my children how to use them on their independent books.  Comprehension is a life-long skill!
 What are the thinking strategies that all proficient readers use as they read?
  • Determining What is Important - Identifying themes and diminishing focus on less important ideas or pieces of information
  • Drawing Inferences - Combining background knowledge and textual information to draw conclusions and interpret facts
  • Using Prior Knowledge - Building on previous knowledge and experiences to aid in comprehension of the text
  • Asking Questions - Wondering and inquiring about the book before, during, and after reading
  • Monitoring Comprehension and Meaning - Using an inner voice to think about if the text makes sense or not
  • Creating Mental Images - Implementing the five senses to build images in the mind that enhance the experience of reading

My colleague Traci, has recommended the book that I am currently reading, "Strategies that Work."  This book has actual lessons, anchor charts, activities, book lists, etc.  the ideas are very practical.
 It has many examples of how to implement strategic reading in your classroom.  I plan on stocking up on sticky notes for next week and showing my students how to Code the Text.  I will model this strategy with non-fiction.  The lessons presented can be adapted with any grade level and text. 
I am currently on chapter 9.  My plan is to finish it this week.

 What books have inspired you as a reading teacher?
What should I read next on my journey?



  1. Thank you for this post. I had become a little disenchanted with teaching reading mainly because of all of the new methods and practices being thrown at us with no real guidelines. I just started reading The Book Whisperer and I'm changing my tune. I will definitely be adding the other books you mentioned to my list :)


    Fun in Room 4B

  2. I've read all of these - and taken a little something from each one of them. I've just ordered another book by Stephanie Harvey - Inquiry Circles. I think it's going to be a good fit for the PD we've been doing on collaborative circles and grand conversations.

    Runde's Room

  3. We have a group of teachers that we call the "Thinking Partners" that sprouted out of the Boise State Writing Project. We've been reading Strategies that Work along with Revisit, Reflect, Retell. The new additions have been worth it. We also have had a lot of great discussions around Notebook Connections and Notebook Know-How. Up next? Nonfiction Mentor Texts. I've been getting a ton of great ideas for implementing the CCSS writing targets and can't wait to talk about them with colleagues!

  4. Great books!

    Tag! You're it! Check out my blog to see what to do next...


  5. Thanks for the comments...I am very excited about pulling all this information together for next year!

    I think I am going to get "Nonfiction Matters" next.

  6. I'm excited to find this post. I also have been teaching for 20+ years. It's nice to find someone else who is questioning her methods and continuing to grow.
    Artistry of Education

  7. I believe we continually grow each year as teachers from the professional material we read, what we learn from our colleagues, and from our own experiences in the classroom. I think it is wonderful that you have discovered these books. Strategies That Work, 7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmermann, amd The Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell are some of my favorites. The Book Whisperer has been on my list to read for a while. I need to make time to read it! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Teaching Fourth