I missed out on Chapter 5 while I was in Vegas and did not get my act together to link up for Chapter 6 last week. Instead of talking about both chapters, I made two graphics with my favorite quotes for a glimpse into what stuck with me.
Chapter 7, titled "Letting Go" wrapped up the book perfectly. There really was not any new information shared, but rather Donalynn reminded her readers as to why it is important to give students choice with their reading. She opened the chapter with a perfect quote, "...teachers plant in the fall and harvest in the spring." pg 159 She then went on to describe her students and list their interests. It is clear that she truly gets to know her students as individuals.
She shares about two students that are confident and popular that claim not to be readers, but are most likely responsible for "...putting more books into hands of their classmates as almost anyone. They are proof that if you can get the cool kids to read, others will follow." pg 162. I was reminded of this during a fabulous keynote while at the Teachers College in June. It is so important to get buy in from the leaders and the rest of the kids will follow. We need to make reading cool.
For a lot of the chapter Donalynn shares her "frustrations" of when her students leave her classroom. She often has students coming back to visit that miss the way her classroom was set up. This is frustrating to her, but she tries her best to not show that in front of the students. It is mind-boggling to her (and me) how other teachers are just concerned with "getting them ready" for the rest of school and for their lives. They do not care if they are fully engaged at the moment. Their classrooms are about them, and not the kids.
The last part I want to touch on (or else this would be an even longer post if I wrote about everything I wanted to...) was the idea that "Teachers do what everyone else is doing." pg 167. Donalynn is SO right. Despite the fact that we know changing certain practices are best for kids, we just keep doing what we know because it is what we know. It is hard to take a leap away from the teacher-centered methods we are used to and turn reading into a list of "have to's" instead of "want to's" for our students.
All in all, I vow to remember this during this school year - "To keep our students reading, we have to let them." I have made a printable for you to hang up, put in your planning book, or save to your computer so that you can remember it and our book study this summer. Let's make a difference this year and let our students read!
|Click here to download your own copy! (It will not have my watermark...;)|