Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Reading Strategies Book: Goal 2 Reflection

Time for post #2 as part of the #ReadingStrategiesCrew online book club about Jennifer Serravallo's book The Reading Strategies Book! I'm glad you're here to check out my take on Goal #2: Teaching Reading Engagement and if you already read my reflection on Goal #1- welcome back! If you didn't get a chance to read my reflection on Goal #1: Supporting Pre-Emergent and Emergent Readers, you can check it out here!

I want to start by saying how thankful I am to have found this book study! I feel like I am back in school (yes, that's a good thing!) getting to read and reflect on things that are important to my field and my passions. Teachers must never stop learning and this book study is the perfect example of people coming together to inspire others to continue that path of lifelong learning. I can't thank the #ReadingStrategiesCrew enough for this! Because of my love of this, that might be why I'm going way overboard and doing a full reflection of each goal- but like I said- I can't pass up the opportunity to learn the very most I can from each and every 'chapter' of the book. 

With that said- let the Goal #2 reflection begin! Here are the three strategies from this goal that I chose to direct my focus:

As you can see, I selected Goal 2.1: A Perfect Reading Spot, Goal 2.6: Fixing the Fuzziness, and Goal 2.27: Hear the Story. I know I said this about the last 'chapter', but seriously, it is so tough to pick just three strategies to focus on- especially in such an important goal category. I mean, engagement is the 'it' factor in reading. As Serravallo points out, "You could be the most eloquent teacher, the best strategy group facilitator, the most insightful conferrer. But if you send your kids back for independent reading and they don't read, then they won't make the progress you are hoping and working for." (Page 44).  I am a HUGE proponent of the importance of proper independent reading (right book in the right hands) in the classroom and I think what Serravallo says here speaks volumes to the likelihood of success in the classroom. 

We have to have our kids reading independently. It's just a must. They have to want to be doing this activity. I don't believe that we can force students to independent read. We have to inspire them to do it. This goes back to what I said in my last reflection about setting goals with students and letting them in on all the information. The teacher in the room can't be the only one wanting the students to get better. The student needs to have a large portion of this. Having taught middle school for so long- I can honestly say that even reluctant school/classroom participants become more actively engaged in their learning when they have all the pieces of the puzzle and know what's going on with their learning. 

With that said....on to the first strategy!

As you can see, I selected strategy 2.1: A Perfect Reading Spot as my first focus strategy. I must admit- as I grew into my teaching style and technique, I began to drift away from the more regimented classroom setup and had more of a organized chaos setup happening in my classroom. Yes, I liked it neat and organized. But when the time came for independent reading- my students knew that the room was fair game. This requires SO MUCH trust in your students and yes, it took a lot of mini-lessons and trial and error to get it right. But once it is right, it is magical. Students feel like you trust them to make the right choice (and yes, this is key, you MUST trust them) and they aren't worried about silly things like sitting where you force them to sit anymore. They have a powerful choice to make in their education and, in my experience, they choose wisely. Check out the diagram below that illustrates the differing spatial needs of students perfectly.

See, I told you it's amazing! It covers so many different types of students- but I'm sure you might be seeing some others in your classroom. Add them to the comments so we can all learn from each other!

On to the second focus strategy!

I'm not going to lie- I love the title of this strategy! My 2.5 year old at home just loves the word 'fuzzy' and considering she goes around finding anything fuzzy around the house to bring and show me- I had a predetermined soft-spot  (get it- fuzzy...soft...lol) for this strategy! Soft-spot aside, this strategy is really amazing. I love that it reminds students that we can never lose sight of the meaning of the text. The whole point of reading is to gain meaning and this strategy keeps that goal in sight at all times. Check out how the visual really helps students keep clear the goal of reading.

I like that this visual is clean and simple and keeps the ultimate goal in mind: gaining meaning. It breaks down the 'check-points' into simple and clear statements that are easy for students to remember and think of as they are reading.

And finally, the last focus strategy of Goal 2:

Goal 2.27: Hear the Story is one of my favorite strategies because it reminds students to slow down their reading and focus on hearing what is happening. I love when I tell students to 'hear' what is going on in the text and they look at me like I am crazy. It's one of those joys of teaching when you can convince a student to do something that seems crazy but then they realize how helpful it is and continue doing so. This is one of those strategies! As the visual below shows- it's so easy!

Simply slow down and focus on what you hear. These questions, like the questions in the above strategy, are simple and easy to remember so that students can seamlessly incorporate them into their independent reading. When the student reads independently with less struggle, they will continue to read independently without stopping. The more reading we can do, the more learning we can do. Simple strategy with outstanding results. 

That's all for my reflection on Goal #2: Teaching Reading Engagement. Be sure to linkup with the #ReadingStrategiesCrew and My First Grade Happy Place for their reflection. And then be sure to check back here on August 10 for my reflection on Goal #3: Supporting Print Work.

Just a reminder: this reflection is from the book The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers By: Jennier Serravallo. If you don't own it yet, you should!! Or check out the #ReadingStrategiesCrew because they are doing a giveaway and you should definitely get in on that!

I'd love to hear your thoughts or comments so be sure to use the space below or even my contact information along the right side to get in touch!
Thanks for reading- see you August 10!


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