Saturday, November 2, 2013



I'm so late with week 2 of the My Truth series from Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade that I might as well wait another 2 days and just do 2 at once, but I'm ready to blog, so I'm linking up very late just because.  However, that's not all that's on the agenda for this all over the place blog post today.  Buckle up, here we go!

1) My Truth Mondays (uhh...Saturdays?  Yikes!):


I'm really enjoying this linky, and I can't wait to see what Monday's topic will be.  Thanks to those of you that commented on my truth about fitness last week.  I appreciated it!  Last weekend, as I mentioned, I participated in the Color Me Rad 5K.  It was the perfect race to do while being sick (I've had allergies and a cough that I just can't shake for WEEKS).  It was a great time, and it made me motivated to do another race when I start to feel better.  Maybe I'll post a post-race picture in a future blog post.   

Next, let's move on to my self-assigned book studies/professional development.  

2) The Book Whisperer

This morning, I read chapter 2, Everybody is a Reader, as well as her first "whisper" in the book about student surveys.  Here are some takeaways, parts I liked, and thoughts I might have to modify what she does so that it is appropriate for my 2nd graders:

  • I love the idea of starting with a "book frenzy" on the first day of school.  I totally identify with Miller's quest to put interesting and manageable books in the hands of each of her students as well as making it clear to them that the classroom library is not mine, but ours.  
  • I also love how Donalyn Miller renames typical categories of readers to frame them in a positive light.  I think it terrific that she emphasizes reaching each type of reader and not making one type more of a priority than another.  Instead of struggling and reluctant readers, Miller discusses "developing readers", "dormant readers". and "underground readers".  I have a few "underground readers" in my class this year.  They love to read, but they read their own books rather than class books.  What's so wrong with that?
  • The chapter ends with a discussion of Brian Cambourne's factors that contribute to successful learning that include: immersion, demonstrations, expectations, responsibility, employment, approximations, response, and engagement (p. 34-36).  To achieve engagement, reading must have personal value to students, be something students see themselves as capable of doing, be anxiety-free, and be modeled by someone students see as a role model.  
  • Whisper about student surveys: I understand the use of these to determine students' interests so that we as teachers can put interesting books in the hands of our students.  I don't believe her versions are 2nd grade appropriate (that's a lot of text for the beginning of the year).  However, I think that conducting the surveys orally and/or engaging my students in conversation can help me make sure that my students are engaged in and motivated to spend time reading.  
3) Guided Reading (Fountas and Pinnell): 

I'm so looking forward to finishing this book.  I feel like I'm doing a better job with guided reading already, and I can't wait to get even better.  Chapter 2 of this book is titled Building on Early Learning.  While this chapter focuses on emeging literacy for very young students, there were some useful bits of information for me as a second grade teacher.  Here are some thoughts/takeaways from this chapter:    

  • The chapter begins with a discussion of language.  I love their description of language as a "self-extending system" that "allows the learner to keep on learning by using it (p. 11).  
  • Teachers can help develop students' awareness of literacy by reading aloud stories multiple times, then making them available to students in the classroom library.  
  • Correcting readers encourages dependence, but helping students learn to check their own reading will foster independent, fluent readers.  
  • Speaking of fluency, I appreciate how Fountas and Pinnell have explained its importance: "Good readers are fast, efficient problem solvers who use meaning and syntax as they quickly and efficiently decode unfamiliar words" (p. 18).  
  • The goal of literacy, according to the authors is "independence and ongoing learning" (p. 18).  
That's all for now.  I'm looking forward to continuing to read The Book Whisperer and Guided Reading.  I'll be back soon with another My Truth post, more notes about what I'm reading, and possibly I'll jump back on the "Currently" bandwagon (again,  a little late).  In the mean time, leave me some comments about what creeps you out (your truth) and/or how guided reading works in your classroom.    


Sara at school said...

I read the Book Whisperer earlier this school year - zoomed right through it. I enjoy your thoughts, and agree - her survey is a little lengthy for 2nd graders. I was hoping you'd say - here's one I've made - lol.

Molly said...

Sara, that's a great idea. I'll have to think about making one as I finish reading the book. :-)

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