07/20/2021 / Education

Refreshing a Reading Practice

I recently wrote about my plans for organization starting with my home office. I had made dates to organize specific areas and the first was my two drawer file cabinet. What an experience this has been as I sifted, sorted, and shredded my way to getting rid of the old, making room for the new, and becoming more organized. While I was creating my beautiful new files (colorful, freshly labeled...so energizing!), I realized a few of my classroom practices also needed to be refreshed. 
 As I weeded through my old files, I noticed a form I'd used for reading conferences with my students. Looking at the form, which I was so proud of when I originally created it a few years ago, I realized it was too “busy”. It seemed to have too much to do- capture a fluency reading, speed, errors, talk about what they were reading, set a reading goal, etc. I decided I could do a formal fluency reading/assessing separately. What I really wanted was to create a time with to check in with each of my students and let them share their independent reading with me. 

My plan started to emerge as I considered ways to change my practice and carve out time for  individual book talks with my students. I began by streamlining my form, including only the areas necessary for a book talk purpose. I wanted to note my students' independent reading progress, how they viewed  themselves as a reader, talk about what they are currently reading, and what book they plan to read next. During this time, I would ask the student to choose a favorite part to read to  me. This would only need to be a few lines or a paragraph, but it would provide me with a quick, informal check of their fluency and decoding. Yes, many of my students volunteer to read during class lessons, but independent reading really is all about them and what they choose to read. I want this time to have a more relaxed feeling and flow. Students could then share thoughts about what they read, make a prediction, or discuss a particular character, connection, theme, etc. I want my kids to love books, talk about books, look forward to books, not dread reading for a score or a graded book report. 

 It is important for the student to have choice in what they read, as well as in deciding what  they will focus on as a reader. So, keeping it simple, I decided I will be calling my reading conferences “Reading Check Ins”. Students will be able to sign up for a time to meet with me. Here is the link to my newly revised  “Reading Check Ins” form.  If you feel it is something you may like to try, please free to make a copy to use in your classroom. You can print it out double sided with the first page containing the student’s name and then print out the second page repeatedly throughout the year. I used Google Slides for ease in copying and printing. I also inserted text boxes into the document if you choose to take notes digitally.

What I am reading: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown Click on the title to read my book review!

What I am writing: Journaling to the following quote from Brene Brown:

"Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are." 

What I am loving:
Great writing opportunity from Kate Messner! Virtual Writing Intensive with Kate Messner- "Out-Of-The-Box-Biographies!" Tuesday, July 27th 1:00-2:30 PM EST.
Click on this link for registration information! https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fTbdEPWYTdC9R_sR0O--Mw

Linden Tree Books is holding a virtual panel of authors on  "Writing Humor for Kids" on Saturday, July 24th- Where do authors find inspiration for funny situations and characters? How do they test jokes to make sure they're landing with kids? And what are the funniest books they read growing up? Click this link to find out more information and/or to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iCvfhHFnTZ2X01Ho2AGKDg

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Kathleen Palmieri

Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Learning Facilitator, and a fifth grade educator in upstate New York. She reviews professional texts and is an educator researcher and writer. As a writer with a passion for pedagogy, Kathleen's focus is on education practices, and strategies, as well as her own experiences as an educator. Educator well being is a priority, thus the name "Mindful Teaching Moments". Mindfulness along with knowledge is important. She has presented at math conferences, writing workshops, actively collaborates in literacy projects, and networks globally.