Monday, March 30, 2015

Everybody Reading, Every Day

Principal ponderings...
**I am going to have to start calling my blog Monday Afternoon Musings!  Sorry for the delay today.

Everybody reading, Every Day...this is the topic I will be presenting on next week at the Massachusetts Reading Association Conference.  So I have been thinking over the past week about the transformation that I have witnessed in our school wide approach to literacy.  I thought back to when I first began working here 4 years ago.  Teachers were all doing different things during reading instruction time.  Some were using a program.  Some were doing guided reading.  Some were doing a version reader's workshop.  Some were doing a combination.  There were many times when I would walk into a classroom during a literacy block and no one was reading!  Or sometimes one or two students would have completed their work and were able to read from their book bags.  There were classrooms that had libraries.  There were classrooms that did not have libraries.

A lot can change in just a few years!

I came across this great quote from Stephen Krashen who wrote the book The Power of Reading: “There is massive evidence that self-selected reading, or reading what you want to read, is responsible for most of our literacy development.  Readers have better reading ability, know more vocabulary, write better, spell better, and have better control of complex grammatical constructions.  In fact, it is impossible to develop high levels of literacy without being a dedicated reader, and dedicated readers rarely have serious problems in reading and writing.”

Today, when I walk into classrooms during the literacy block...every student is reading!  Students are shopping for books in the classroom library.  Teachers are conferring with students about books.  Kids are coming up to me and telling me about the book that they are reading.  But what I love is that outside of the classroom people are reading and talking about reading.  On most days, someone comes up to me in the hall or in the staff room or as we are walking to the parking lot and tells me about a book they are reading or recommends a book or asks to borrow a book from me.  Our PTA has committed time and money to renovating and updating our library as well as our shared literature collection and our classroom libraries.  We have authors come into our school to talk to our students.  
It is clear that reading is important to all in our school.  No matter what our job title is, we are all reading role models for our students.  And that makes me proud.  Thank you for being active participants in this important school culture shift.  You are all part of making a difference in the lives of our readers!

Currently reading:
A friend gave me a great gift...a cookbook with tons of great recipes.  I have been reading many of the recipes this weekend and can't wait to try out many of them.
I'm sure you all know the book Goodnight Moon.  Well we have a parody of that book called Goodnight iPad.  Those of you who are technology fans will certainly enjoy it!
I was finding quick moments to read over the week..."emergency reading" as Donalyn Miller calls it.  That's when you carry a book in your purse and pull it out when you wait in line or as you are stirring a pot and cooking dinner.  I have the perfect book for that given to me by a dear friend.  It's a book of funny haiku poems called Haiku Mama (because 17 syllables is all you have time to read).  Here are a few gems from the book:

               Forty thousand pounds:
               How much stuff one baby needs;
               afternoon car trip.

               Awake so early,
               small boy rises with the sun.
               Can't snooze a baby.

                Same book twenty times:
                comforting for the baby,
                not so much for Mom.

Events this week:
**Reminder PARCC testing this week.  See separate schedule from Dianna
Monday - Report cards need to be completed and reviewed, Liz @ Crisis Management Meeting
Wednesday - Report cards available to parents, Grade 3 chorus practice @ 2:25, Staff meeting @ 3:30
Friday - Good Friday, no school

Great things I noticed last week:
  • Two of Mrs. Clark's students represented Florence Roche well at the school committee meeting.
  • Mrs. Taylor's class invited me to come and hear their story they wrote called Dan Flew Over Groton.  It was modeled after a story they read called Dan the Flying Man.
  • Mrs. Hoke's class worked together to create some very detailed informational posters about different kinds of penguins.
  • Some of the students from Mrs. Wilkins class having been reading non fiction books and used the facts they learned to write animal riddles.

Check it out:
A Washington Post article about Donalyn Miller and the importance of reading:
A great blog post by Donalyn Miller that supports the importance of independent reading:

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