For many teachers and students, the summer months are a chance to change pace, to dig into projects of personal interest, and just…breathe. But for many kids, summer is also a time when learning grinds to a halt. Students in lower socio-economic households in particular have little opportunity to practice the academic skills that began to take root and gel by the end of the year. One particular area of well-documented summer decline is in reading. When students don’t read during the months of summer, the effects on their academic progress are disastrous.
Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month we look closely at the creating opportunities for ourselves and our students to consider the power of the reading-writing connection.
“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out.”
By Katherine Bomer
The secret to teaching how to write is to read, but that doesn't mean standing in front of the How to Write section in Barnes & Noble and picking a book by an author you’ve never heard of. Instead read what you’re passionate about and then try to widen the scope of that passion, reading different genres, so that you can say you’re passionate about good writing with the confidence that you know what good writing is regardless of genre. Trust in your own responses as a reader—good writing excites you, moves you, gives you clarity, makes you laugh, and makes you realize how deliciously complicated life really is.
When we think about engagement we almost immediately focus on the student who won’t talk or just doesn't engage. But what about the student who is over engaged? On today’s podcast we’re continuing our series of conversations with Cornelius Minor. Today we’re talking about a student he has nicknamed “Prez” short for president of the class.
The research is compelling: When teachers differentiate reading instruction, students learn more. But teachers are too often given the expectation of differentiation without the details on how to make it work. In No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation, Lynn Bigelman and Debra Peterson offer a framework that adapts instruction based on individual students' needs and interests.
As a college student, at twenty, I found myself under the tutelage of an educator of color for the first time ever. I did not learn from another one until I was thirty. During my tenure as an educator, I have served students as diverse as America itself. I scoured my memory. I can merely recall fewer than ten colleagues of color among the hundreds with whom I’ve worked. In March I traveled from rural Alaska to New York City to visit Heinemann Fellow Tiana Silvas and her colleagues at PS 59. I was looking for effective instructional strategies. At forty, nineteen years into my teaching career, I found what I hope all thoughtful, passionate educators, regardless of race or ethnicity, will someday find in order to better serve our students. I found community—just as I am.
In the first two installments of this blog series, we discussed why particularly chosen books matter and how the TCRWP Classroom Librarieswere selected. In this final part of the series, we will explore additional, innovative ways that the team focused on driving reading engagement.
One such way is through the tools and resources that accompany the libraries. A vast collection of brightly colored, attractive book bin labels and book level labels lure kids to bins with irresistible topics. Additionally, student sticky-note pads help promote close, active reading. Students can identify “Must-Reads” and “Watch Out!” sections for others by leaving these helpful sticky notes in the book. Watch the video below to check out these amazing resources: