Friday, June 20, 2014

Reading in the Wild (Book Study)

I've been hearing a lot about Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer and had the book on my "to read" list. When I heard Catherine at The Brown Bag Teacher was organizing a book study around Miller's second book, Reading in the Wild, I knew I had to purchase both books and get reading! You don't necessarily need to read The Book Whisperer before you dive into Reading in the Wild. I'm glad I did, because it gave me some background knowledge and insight into Miller's thoughts about reading.

This marks the first week of the book study and our fabulous hosts for Chapter 1 are Misty from Think, Wonder, Teach and Abbey from Third Grade Bookworm.                                    

Teachers from all over are linking up, sharing ideas, and discussing the first chapter "Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read." Pretty nifty...right?!?!

In Chapter 1, Miller discusses the importance of dedicating time to read every single day.

"Imagine schools where band, choir, debate, and athletics participants were not given practice time during the school day yet were still expected to perform.  If we expect students to perform as readers, they need time to practice reading at school, too." ~page 9
I couldn't agree with Miller more! This year I made it a point to make sure my students are reading all the time! In previous years I would start the day off with morning work which usually consisted of warms up for math and/or language arts. But this year, I changed it up and had my students read for the first 30 minutes of class. At times, I would catch some students hovering over a book involved in a deep discussion. Initially, I made the mistake (yup, I'm gonna own up to it) of telling them that we were to be reading quietly. Eventually, I  noticed that I was doing a disservice to my kids. It was wonderful that they were so passionate about what they were reading and wanted to share with others. So, I ended up letting them continue with their quiet discussions. When we had an inclement weather schedule and they were in the auditorium for a kiddos were bringing their books to read! I even saw some of my students  bringing out there books during regular recess. I've always stressed the importance of reading to my students and over the years have built an amazing classroom library (to my husbands dismay...he gets to help me whenever I move classrooms). I understand that we all have specific/mandated curriculum our districts want us to use, but I feel that students need to also read for pure enjoyment. A culture of reading must be the focus! I loved that my students this year were constantly reading (even when we were working on different activities, I'd always find a student totally involved in a book).
Miller also discusses her use of a Reading Itinerary in which the students focus on their reading habits for one week. I love this idea and will be using it next year. It is such a great reflection piece for the students as well as the teacher.
Fake reading and reading avoidance is something we all see in our classrooms and it has always been a struggle for me. I like how she pin pointed the warning signs of fake reading and gave some solutions to help them become wild readers!
So far I am loving this book! I've highlighted lots of great points and I'm excited to be implementing a lot of new things next year!

If you want to know the schedule for our books study so you can join in CLICK HERE!
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  1. I've made that same mistake of insisting on quiet reading. Arghh. It makes me shudder thinking about it. It only took one child to look up at me and say, "But I'm just telling him about something cool that just happened." Why would I ever want to stifle THAT? Sometimes something in a book just begs to be shared and there's no holding it in. It happens to me ALL the time! Quiet conversations are encouraged now, as long as other readers aren't being disturbed. One great outcome is that students are getting each other excited about the books they are reading.

    1. Yes!! Exactly! If quiet conversations lead to more excitement about reading than I'm all for it!

  2. Interesting... I never thought of allowing quiet conversations during reading. I have always insisted upon quite. I somehow missed this in the reading (probably because I was focusing on other details). This is what I love about book studies... we all have something that stood out and is most important to us. Thank you for sharing!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

    1. Hi Misty! She may have written about that in The Book Whisperer or a later chapter in Reading in the Wild. I read both books within two some of the content may have gotten a bit mixed up. :) I'm definitely loving this book study!


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