I apologize for being late to the party, but I finally had the chance to finish Chapter 3.
Donalyn brought up a lot of great points as she began this chapter. Bottom line: teachers should no longer think, "How can we make time for independent reading?", but rather "How can we not?!"
Students need the time to read in order to become life long readers. Not only do they need a chance to read, but they also need to see US read. Model, model, and then model some more
As the chapter continues, Donalyn suggests ways to maximize independent reading time during all times of the day.
1. Classroom Interruptions
We all have them. The phone rings, the office buzzes, or another teacher walks in. Rather than stress about what your students are doing during this time teach them the expectations early of taking out their book and reading. This is absolutely brilliant?! Instead of having the chance of students misbehaving during these interruptions teach the expectation of using their time wisely.
2. Bell Ringers and Warm-Ups
Donalyn suggests instead of wasting time with "fillers" get right down to work and use that time to allow students to read. I have to admit I am guilty of this. The students walk in and morning work is waiting for them at their table. The morning work relates to the concepts we are doing, whether it be alphabet practice, math, or science activities. I think I will continue to do this, however I DO want to try having them independently read after they are done. I'm envisioning when they check their morning work with me, they can go to the book shelf and choose a book of their choice, find a comfy spot and read. This would also help minimize the noise and students would get some extra minutes of reading time.
3. When Students are Done
This connects with the paragraph above. After students are done with their work, instead of having them do busy work, allow them the time to read, write, and think! I will say that my students did get into this habit towards the end of the year. This year my class
liked loved writing workshop. During this time they were the most engaged. You would find kiddos scattered all around the room, with clipboards, markers, stencils, and colored pencils writing away. As I stated above I want to continue to embrace this and also incorporate reading into this time. It's such a simple idea, but one that I think gets overlooked. I think teachers (me included) are afraid of that down time. Everyone doesn't finish their work at exactly the same time, and it's the never ending question, "What do I do now?!" that can get eliminated from the classroom when you teach your students to use their time wisely and read and write when they are done with an activity.
4. Picture Day
I must admit I gave myself a pat on the back when I got to this heading because I do bring books and have students read as we are waiting for our pictures to be taken. In kindergarten, I have found through experience, if you do not give them something to do they start to misbehave and wander. And once one wanders they all start and by the time the last one has taken their picture it is like herding cats attempting to get them all to line up. It just causes unnecessary stress. This problem is easily solved once books are passed out, all is right with the world and my kindergarten friends are in a straight line reading away!
5. Library Time
I felt validated as I read this section as well because my kids LOVE going to the library and hardly misbehave. They are excited to be able to check out books and read in the library. It is important to set the expectation from the start and follow through. I use this time to help my librarian find books for my kiddos and show my love of reading through book recommendations.
The second part of this chapter was all about creating a place for reading. In my classroom I have lots of different areas set up, we have a rug area where we gather for classroom discussions, kitchen, tables, and a writing workshop area. Once I teach my students the expectations during reading time I allow them to choose where they would like to sit during this time. It is always fun for me to look around at my class and watch as my kiddos find a comfy "just right" spot for them and enjoy books.
I liked how Donalyn stressed it is not so much about the furniture that creates a place for reading, but the expectations you give to your students as they read.
Thank you for taking the time to read through my blog post about Chapter 3. Be sure to check out Brogan's Bits and Literacy and Lattes for their post about Chapter 3.
Next week I look forward to hosting Chapter 4 Reading Freedom.