Bringing Your Books to the Table

 

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Photo CC- David Orban

I’ve never really thought about a classroom library before. I guess the thought never crossed my mind. Many of the teacher’s that  I had in high school didn’t have classroom libraries. They were ultimately dependent on the school’s library or often sent us to the library in town if we couldn’t find what we needed. There was never a lot of talk about the independent reading books that we choose to read in school. In fact, besides the mandated pages per semester that we had to read and ER (Everybody Reads, mandated reading for thirty  minutes at the beginning of the day), we really didn’t even discuss independent reading. I suppose I figured I’d just get by like the student teacher in Sarah Anderson’s article, Is “getting along fine” Good Enough?.

Looking back at my past experiences I wish that my teacher’s had cared more about my independent reading. I wish they had been willing to stock their rooms full of books that they had read and could suggest to me. I wish they had taken an active role in my reading life besides just assigning me reading. I think that’s what I love most about both Penny Kittle and Sarah Anderson, they focus on their students’ reading. They care about more than just reading the classics or some assigned novel. Instead, they care about students reading books that they enjoy, and that speaks volumes. I think that makes a difference in how much students read. It’s important to ask ourselves what we can do to help out students become more avid readers.

What I liked the most in Penny Kittle’s writing is that she brings to life this idea of showing kids how to be their own readers. She takes time to help her students develop their own love for books by making it easy for them to accomplish tasks. Goals. Goals are so important especially small short term goals. I like that Kittle takes the time to show her students how to set realistic goals. It’s interesting that they were able to sit down and read

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Photo CC-Humbletree

for ten minutes to determine how many pages per week should be realistic (I’m still trying to figure out the math formula there). This not only helps students to accomplish short term and long term goals, but addresses the issue of reading speed. It took me about two days to finish “The City of Bones,” the first book in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, while my sister, who spent almost the same time everyday working on it, took a little over a month. This is simply because some people can read better than others. I don’t think a lot of teacher’s realize this, or if they do they don’t account for it. Kittle’s method allows for you to account for slower reading and still make progress.

One thing that I noticed in both Kittle and Anderson’s writing was this need to read books just as much as their students were. In the article above by Anderson, one of her students points out that it’s good to see a teacher practicing what they preach. If students see you reading with them it provides them with a good role model. Being a role model is so important! It shows your students that you actually think reading is a good thing. It means that you care about it, and that’s why you want them to read. You aren’t forcing them to read just because you are told you have to, but because you want to and I think that makes a huge difference.

 

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7 thoughts on “Bringing Your Books to the Table

  1. I fully agree that if students see you reading they are more motivated to read themselves. Don’t all of our teaching classes stress the importance of modeling behavior for students? Makes sense that we need to model good pleasure reading behavior also.

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  2. I couldn’t agree more with the last portion. Seeing teachers read will only cement the idea that reading is necessary (and fun, duh). I had plenty of teachers that would recommend books to me, and when they did that it felt like I had more of a connection with them; I would even recommend them books! I felt like I was heard and that my reading was supported, which are two incredibly important things for every student.

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  3. I’m in my 40s and none of my teachers had classroom libraries either. I thought it was just because of my age. I’m surprised to hear it’s a common finding even today, especially with so much emphasis on student reading. I agree with you — I really like how both authors are passionate about reading and that it’s a fantastic quality to have as a teacher. I hope I model this to my students one day too.

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  4. I loved your argument at the end of this post. Teachers should definitely practice what they preach. My only problem with reading with my students is that I won’t be able to stop myself, you know? The other thing I caught in your post was that some people just read better than others. I know cognitively that this is true sometimes, but some people just absorb slower than others, and some people like to let the information they’ve just obtained stew a little as they go. I think you had a great post this week! Thank you!

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