Out of This World Literacy : Blogging from Boston...Day Four
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Blogging from Boston...Day Four

Day four was another full day of learning.  We looked carefully at genres again today. 
Here are my TOP 10 things I am thinking about tonight:

1. It’s not about teaching the book…it’s about helping the reader use strategies to develop a deep understanding of what they can take away from the information they are reading.
2. Don’t excuse books that are short or appear basic as not being rich text or ‘too easy’ for your fifth graders…if you look closely you may find deep meaning that upper elementary students can grow from as readers.  These kinds of books are great to use as interactive read-alouds that we can share as a whole group with our class.  Imagine the conversations we could have!?  

3. We could read the same text to students at different grade levels and the students will take something different from those books.  Students are growing, thinking, and changing their opinions year after year.  Students’ perspectives and thinking about a text read to them in fifth grade will be much different than when the same text was read to them in second grade.

4. Instead of teaching to the text by always asking teacher generated questions, let’s listen for our students’ responses to a text.  We can learn a lot about how our students think by giving them time to talk about their thinking with the class, in small groups, or with a partner.  Sometimes our specific questioning gets in the way of students’ thinking.  Instead, let’s ask, ‘tell me what you are thinking about this book?’  Or, ‘what are you wondering after reading today?’ 

5.  Model rich learning by sharing out loud what we are thinking in your head as you read to the class or during guided reading.  By modeling our thinking, students will begin thinking and forming their own ideas. 
6.  We need to believe that kids can think and that sometimes they can teach us something.  We sometimes keep them from thinking by asking them questions we think they should be answering.

7.  Book clubs are a great opportunity for students to go deeper with their thinking and understanding of a text.  Teachers should be part of a book club to share input to guide students through their understanding.

8. Book clubs can be done in all grades.  Wordless books work great for kindergarteners to share their understanding of a text without having to read words.

9. Reading is all about meaning.  When we are teaching specific skills in guided reading (making inferences, for example), we always need to tie back to the big idea of the text. 

10. When analyzing a text while reading with students, take some time to talk about what the author’s purpose is and also what the big ideas are.  The big ideas should include themes that can
be pulled out of the story and applied to our lives (friendship, bravery, injustice, for example).

Today was another great day of learning.  Tomorrow we meet until noon then it’s off to the airport to get home.  As much as I love all this training, I am eager to get home and see my family!  Happy Thursday EveryoneJ


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