Saturday, January 4, 2014

What Readers Really Do - Book Recommendation

I have had 2 luscious weeks off and have enjoyed reading, sewing and being lazy.  It's so nice to have this time to recharge.  One of the professional books I read was What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton.  It gave me lots to think about!  I thought I would jot down some of the main points that I took away from the book to help me process how I might use the ideas in my second grade.  I know I will be revisiting this book.

The subtitle of the book is "Teaching the Process of Meaning Making" and the authors break down the steps of what a reader does when they are making meaning.  Then they go on to show you, with classroom examples, how to teach students these "invisible" processes.  They use a simple t-chart labeled with "What I Know" and "What I Wonder" that I can't wait to try out.

The authors have thought about the places where our students have trouble or get confused, and then show how they designed lessons to make this hard thinking visible.  I particularly love the lesson designed to help understand confusing beginnings.  As a reader myself, I recognized immediately the confusion, that is natural as we begin reading a novel.  I was reminded of the quote, "read between the lines".  But how do you do that?  The lessons in this book explore how we might be able to teach that better.

One of the things the book talks about is that readers are always drafting and revising their thinking about a text, and the book shows ways to make this process visible to our students.

Instead of the traditional mini-lesson where the teacher provides explicit direct instruction on a particular reading strategy, the lessons in this book are created so that students can construct their own understanding of the text.  The authors call this "noticing and naming" what the reader is doing.

There are so many great ideas in this book.  I love that the authors question or rethink our current practice in reading instruction, and offer ideas for how we might teach students to think deeper when reading.

It's important to note, these lessons aren't reproducible scripts that you can repeat in your class.  But, they are outlines for you to design your own lessons.

I can't wait to experiment with some of the lessons and suggestions from this book.  Most of the classes they worked with were from upper elementary, but I do believe the lessons can be modified for second grade.

Have you tried any of the lesson ideas in this book?

No comments:

Post a Comment