Mindsets and Moves Help Readers Take Charge

Mindsets and Moves: Strategies That Help Readers Take Charge, Grades 1-8
By Gravity Goldberg
(Corwin Literacy, 2016 – Learn more)

Reviewed by Laura Von Staden

Why do students lose their interest in school and especially in reading? It’s not just the growing digital competition, but also our “Mindsets and Moves” within the classroom.

Gravity Goldberg shows us how to change this in our classrooms and how to move students from the drudgery of reading as work to reading as a pathway to learning, all the while taking ownership of their education.

In her well-referenced book that builds on our current knowledge of how the brain works, Goldberg contends that as reading teachers we need to move from the roles of “assigner, monitor, and manager” in our classrooms to those of “miner, mirror, model, and mentor.” In the process we focus on an asset mindset versus a deficiency mindset and teach our students to own their learning and use of reading strategies for their own needs.

Goldbert shows us that by using an “admiring” lens (where we regard what we see with wonder and surprise) to view what our students are doing, we can shift our focus to their assets and help them along their growth path.

In the pages of this book she lays out plenty of pictures and tables that present key concepts, coaches us through the change process, and provides several guiding questions in each section. She uses her own real-world anecdotes to illustrate how we can use these lessons of life in our classroom. Each chapter has a clear conclusion section and connection to the next chapter.

Breaking down the book

The first part of the book introduces us to the concepts of changing our roles as teachers – and explains why we should. This is followed by the main portion of the book that further digs into exactly what Goldberg means by each of the new roles that she advocates, how she employs them, and why it is important—how it changes students’ mindsets about themselves as learners and about their learning, and ultimately their learning outcomes.

In the last section of the book, Goldberg shows us in step-by-step fashion how we can make these changes in our classrooms and with our own students. She also addresses common “troubles,” how to view them with an admiring lens, and what she has done to address these.

Throughout the book, Goldberg emphasizes the role of mindset and our power as teachers to make small changes that have a significant impact on students. She reminds us that how we view the world and frame our struggles affects our experience. As we attach meaning to the experience, we need to normalize struggle and remember that mindsets can change over time—we can have different mindsets for different areas of our lives.

I believe Gravity Goldberg has met her goal for writing this book (p. 195), “so that every teacher feels encouraged to be courageous and connected to their students….” While Mindsets & Moves focuses on reading, many of the mindset shifts that Goldberg advocates can be applied to other content areas and learning activities. This is a well-written, thought-provoking book on how to change reading instruction, and is well worth having on your bookshelf.

Dr. Laura Von Staden is a Middle School Special Education Specialist in Tampa, Florida. She serves on numerous committees both at her school and within her district and works closely with the local university where she is a Professional Practice Partner and master mentor. Dr. Von Staden also facilitates both online and face-to-face Professional Development and writes curriculum for her school district. She is working toward her second doctorate (her first was in molecular biology), this one an EdD in Program Innovation and Development.

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