This fall Katie Durkin’s middle schoolers developed a voluntary reading plan using a design thinking process. After modeling her own reading goals, she had students generate and pursue ‘prototype’ goals that helped them expand choice and voice in their reading practices.
As teachers and students are tossed by the currents of Covid-19, Katie Durkin plans to anchor and then expand her 7th graders’ views of themselves as readers by puzzling out a reading identity, reflecting and planning for the horizon, and charting a path forward.
When it’s time to analyze a fiction or nonfiction text, don’t let students coast through the lesson by simply filling in a graphic organizer. Author and teaching coach Sunday Cummins has ideas that will help learners think about text structures conceptually and flexibly.
To motivate students to embrace independent reading, Kasey Short recommends we help them find the right books, use authentic assignments for accountability, and provide the time to read – all to help build a classroom climate where reading is valued, enjoyed and celebrated.
Jennifer Sniadecki and Jason DeHart dive deep into using picture books in upper level classrooms to meet state standards and increase student mastery. In this 3rd post on the topic they share examples, research, and stories from their own teaching experiences.
Reading teachers work hard to meet the needs of individual students in small groups. Yet many students struggle while reading self-selected books. Meghan Duermit and Sunday Cummins offer ways to build stronger bridges of support from guided instruction to joyful independent reading.
In Part 2 of a series on using picture books in middle school, Jennifer Sniadecki and Jason DeHart focus on “the simple power” of stories with minimal text to set the stage for lessons, provide background knowledge, and make efficient use of daily class time. Example: Eva Bunting’s Terrible Things.
Students at ages 9-13 still want to hear their teachers read aloud, want to sit on the rug, want to engage in stories. Jennifer Sniadecki and Jason DeHart share evidence that picture books are also an effective way to teach figurative language and other ELA standards.
Add dimension to student book talks with Lynne Dorfman’s version of the Book-in-a-Bag project. And it works online, as students introduce their books by sharing a paper bag covered in images they recreate from fiction or nonfiction and by pulling out representative objects.
What can we do to encourage kids to choose nonfiction more frequently for personal enjoyment? Cate Gerard and Sunday Cummins share what Cate discovered when interviewing middle graders about their reading habits and recommend class and virtual strategies and resources.