To me, it doesn’t seem like narcissism to remember life’s seasons by the art that filled them—the spring of romance novels, the winter of true crime. But it’s true enough that if you consume culture in the hopes of building a mental library that can be referred to at any time, you’re likely to be disappointed. Books, shows, movies, and songs aren’t files we upload to our brains—they’re part of the tapestry of life, woven in with everything else. From a distance, it may become harder to see a single thread clearly, but it’s still in there.
I was asked this morning on Twitter how we move students beyond wanting hand-picked recommendations every time they book shop. How do they move beyond needing someone, typically, the adult or trusted reading role model to help them find the next book to read?
- We build our libraries, both whole school and classroom libraries.
- We carefully craft our book displays.
- We have a to-be-read list.
- We book talk books almost every day.
- We do lessons on how to book shop.
- We just say no.
- We dive into their reading identity.
- We read every single day in class.
This continues on from an earlier post discussing reading programs
I was recently asked if I could give a 2-minute answer to which reading program would be best for a district. While I was flummoxed at first; 2 minutes, that’s not enough time to discuss the needed components?! I quickly realized that I really don’t need even two minutes to answer this question ...
So what should we look for instead?
A program that supports choice, independent reading time, small group, one on one conferring, as well as lessons for ideas.
A program that focuses on the needs of the individual as much as the needs of the group.
A program that leaves teachers and students alike that reading and being a reader is something good.
A program that builds hope for all readers to be readers. That balances out between reading for skill and reading for pleasure. A program with an emphasis on developing reader identity as well as reader skill. A program that doesn’t kill the love of reading but instead bolsters it.
That is the program you should buy. And then don’t ever forget that fidelity should always remain to the students and not to the program itself to quote my Assistant Superintendent, Leslie Bergstrom.
I think that listing all of the different influences and attributes is so important. I have spoken about this elsewhere in regards to EdTech, using the Modern Learning Canvas to illustrate it. I have had a quick go at translating Ripp’s ideas here:
Click here to make your own copy of the canvas
When our students read and write they draw upon their knowledge of stories – sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. The language and words and patterns become known and understood, matched and linked together. Over time, students develop what we can term a ‘mental model‘. That is to say, the more we read, the more we understand, the more we develop a ‘model’ of different types of stories and their respective worlds. We know that the earlier we read, and the greater the volume of our reading, the more fine grained and precise our ‘mental model’. For many children who join school, they are well on the way with being read to and the shape of stories – mental models – are already emerging in their minds. By secondary school, I can teach a gothic story, but most students could write a good attempt with little to no teaching. The shape of the story is already well formed in their minds.
Reading a book is the answer for a lot of what troubles me. When I’ve had to much screen time–read a book! When I’m tired from work and want to turn on the TV–read a book. When I’m frustrated with the current state of things in this country–read a book. When I can’t shut down the voices in my head because I’m spinning out about something–read a book.