Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Sayings: Weighed Down



What a perfect visual.  Stuff attached to books actually weighs them down.  I believe it in turn weighs the reader down as well.  Books and readers aren't meant for such things.  I would never make the point that teachers knowingly attempt to weigh books down.  They sincerely believe the stuff will benefit their readers.  As part of an acculturated profession that learns from one another, and rightly so, they've seen plenty of other teachers attach packets, worksheets, projects, dioramas, book reports, and so on to the books their students read.  To me, authentic reading, that Donalyn refers to, mirrors the kind of reading that happens in the real world with adults like you and me.  The real world finishes a book and then talks with their friends, possibly does some personal  research on the topic, participates in a book club, journals their reflections, immediately tracks down the next book in the series, etc.  None of that looks or feels like stuff.  Books never weigh me down and they shouldn't feel heavy to my young readers either.  My goal is to model how I handle books in my classroom after what adults enjoy about reading.  I take responsibility for the fact that I'm not altogether there, but even as I write this, I'm thinking of how to modify what I already do.  How can we set our books and readers free?  
  
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22 comments:

  1. Each weekend I go through my library finding a book for each of my students to walk in and see sitting at their desk on Monday. I love hearing their excitement over what book they find. What I like even more is hearing them hand the book to another student when they are done and saying five magical words, "I think you'll like this..." I love your Saturday sayings!
    Jenny

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    1. Jenny, this is a really wonderful idea. There's no weighing down of books in this!

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  2. Tammy you are such an inspiring writer. I remember when I was a kid, especially in middle school, after I would read a book I liked, I would read every book by that author. I don't really do extra activities with books except the ones in our basal. I do try to read different books to the kids to introduce them to things in the library. After I read some of the pigeon books that's all they were checking out. :)
    Thanks for the continued inspiration!
    Kelly
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

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    1. Kelly, thank you for such a sweet compliment and for sharing how reading should look in our classrooms.

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  3. I totally agree. I think the teacher balance is in getting them to like a book, but also to push themselves to be better readers so that more is available to them independently.

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    1. Kimberley, they definitely need skills to be able to access all the great books that we want them to love. :)

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  4. Wow! I was just talking to another teacher the other day about this very thing. I believe that our goal as teachers of reading is to get our students to LOVE reading.

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    1. Connie, yes that's what it's all about!

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  5. We just had a discussion about accountability at our grade level meeting. Our literacy coach wanted that for independent reading and when I asked her why her emphasis seemed to be on that, she didn't have an answer and nothing to say when my coworker said, what happened to just reading for fun?
    Just makes me want to go - blah.

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    1. Sara, I wonder what accountability would look like? I'm guessing it would look like "stuff." Blah is right.

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  6. I couldn't agree more!
    When I'm teaching my guided reading groups pretty much the only thing the other kids are doing is reading.
    This is a timely post for me, cause sometimes I worry that I need to do more book activities, but then I think, nah, the only thing I ever want to do with a book is read it and talk about it. And that's it:)

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  7. I completely agree with this. I read a statistic the other day that said (I can't remember the exact percentage)-but only like 30% of high school students read for fun. That saddens me so much-we seem to take the "fun" out of reading early on.

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    1. Miss Trayers, We do seem to do that. It's something we need to fix.

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  8. Tammy all that you are saying is so true! Teachers weigh kids down by doing BUSY WORK. My two children are in kindergarten this year and I can't believe the amount of BUSY WORK they both do..worksheets, cutting and pasting...how can teachers in the twenty first century not know that kids should be writing and reading!!! When I read your post above it reminded me of a comment in Lucy Calkin's book The Art of Teaching Reading...if we don't give kids appropriate books it likes putting bricks in their backpacks!! Melissa

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    1. Melissa, that quote is perfect, as are your other thoughts. The busy work starts awfully young unfortunately.

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    1. Tara, thank you very much. Donalyn is great at giving me things to think about.

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  10. Thank you for writing about this, Tammy! Real and authentic reading...my goal for my classroom!
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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    1. Lori, I know it's your goal too and your kids are blessed that you're not about stuff.

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