I loved how Donalynn opened the chapter, "...but I still had a lot to learn about being a responsive teacher. What I thought my students needed each week when I wrote my lesson plans was not as important as how much I responded to their needs when they expressed them to me." (pg 20) She goes into talking about how she creates a "book frenzy" on her first day of school. This resonated with me because I often do not let my first graders even touch our books until we have gone over the directions for how the library works over and over and over and over. Reading what she wrote though made me think of my own students. Each year as they come in my room one of the first things they notice is our library. Then, I tell them they can't touch it until I know they will know how to use it. That isn't fair. I definitely need to change that! (Please tell me I am not the only one...)
She then goes on to talk about three different types of readers - Developing (most commonly known as struggling readers), Dormant (read to pass but do not embrace reading outside of school), and Underground (gifted readers, but see school reading as disconnected from the reading they prefer.) Her descriptions were spot on and I could picture past students that fit exactly in these categories.
The last part of the chapter was devoted to conditions for learning. She writes, "...if my classroom was not a motivational environment for readers, my instruction was doomed to fail." The tips she lists from Australian researcher Brian Cambourne on pages 34 to 36 were great reflection points for myself on my own classroom.
Finally, she includes a "whisper" at the end of the chapter. In this she shares two student reading surveys and talks about how she picks out books that interests them. I finally had a "Yeah! I did that!" moment with this section. Before we began our informational writing unit, I wanted my students to complete a book review on a nonfiction book. I had them write down some areas that interested them and picked out books for them at the library. I LOVED seeing their faces when they saw what books I picked out. There is something special about having your teacher pick you personally out a book...
Below are my final take-aways from the chapter. I would love to hear what you thought!