My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

July 16, 2014

Reading in the Wild Part 2 #cyberpd

Today is the second part of our #cyberpd conversation about Donalyn Miller and Susan Kelley's awesome book, Reading in the Wild.  Check out the conversation over at Laura Komo's Ruminate and Invigorate today.  Last week's feedback can be found at Cathy Mere's Reflect and Refine and we're headed to Michelle Nero's Literacy Zone next week.  Whew!

Let's talk about chapter 3, Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Other Readers, and chapter 4, Wild Readers Have Reading Plans.

Bring on the Book Love
On page 89 this quote rang true for me, "Successful learning communities require cultivation, and I spend a lot of time forging relationships with my students and helping them connect to each other."

I've tried my best to connect my past resource students to books and fellow resource classmates, but it's tricky when you only see them for 40 minutes a day and then return them to a classroom that may or may not have the same book love.  I've felt for many years that I'm the tuckpointer in my students' brick building.  I'm the person fixing the chipped bricks, filling in the cracks and trying to keep up with the weathering.  I've done what I can to help students fit into their classrooms full of students who can read circles around them.  I've given my all to helping them find books that they might enjoy.  I've read aloud books to them that they aren't ready to try alone, but their friends are all talking about it.

This year I'm a little giddy about the idea of having one set of students all day long.  (I'm also feeling exhausted already because they are six years old.)  I've always been one to figure out what makes each of them tick.  I'm ready to start handing books to kids and building a classroom full of reading and book love.

Track Your Book Love
On page 118 I had a brilliant idea (that I'm sure I heard from someone else!) to use one of the digital picture frames gathering dust in my closet to display all our read aloud titles.  This year I'm all about the visuals.  I know I have a couple students that are not yet reading.  Visuals work for everyone (especially me) and I will be snapping pictures of our read alouds (perhaps this is a student job!) and uploading them to the digital picture frame.

Create Reading Goals
I keep feeling that some of the record keeping, list making and book review ideas will be tricky for first graders.  This comes from my underestimating what these digital natives can do.  I definitely want to help the students set reading goals for various genres and series.  I'm just trying to figure out the best way.  I DEFINITELY want them to have a list of some sort when we head to the library.   I know most of the best-loved books (read: Elephant and Piggie, Babymouse) will be missing from the shelves and I want the kiddos to have more than just one book on their mind.  I'm sure if I ask the students, they will be the ones who have a solution.  They will figure out what works for them:  list, pictures... something!

Reading All the Time
I definitely want, like Donalynn and Susan, for my students to realize that reading is something you can always do.  I hope to make book bags with my students so they can find time to "read in the edges" during long waits and car rides.  I hope to encourage my students to get their family to bring them to the library and rediscover the joy of books.  I have lots of hopes and dreams, and I think I can spark some book love by being a voracious reader myself.  Reading, like music, dark chocolate and time with friends and family, feeds my soul.  I'm able to lose myself in a book.  I hope some of my reading habits will rub off on my students.


  1. Chris,

    So much great thinking and plans for your new classroom! I'm so excited to be on this journey with you (even though I will miss you so ...)

    I have the same frustrations that you had. We need to continue increasing our communication with classroom teachers so that students are hearing the same messages about wild reading and strategies!

    Laughed out loud at this -- because I agree!!! "This year I'm a little giddy about the idea of having one set of students all day long. (I'm also feeling exhausted already because they are six years old.)"

    LOVE your brilliant idea. I think variations of this were mentioned, but what a great idea! And how fun to see the list of books grow and what memories it will bring back about that shared reading experience. Yes, a kiddo can easily take the pics ... I always hated taking the time to upload to the digital picture frame. Can you put it on a flash drive and plug in? Thinking how to make this easier so that the idea doesn't get lost in the craziness of first grade!

    I wondered too about reading goals and reflecting in the primary grades ... Lots of modeling, modeling, modeling and explicit instruction and conversations! (That will be true for everything you do!)

    Happy reading my friend! And I know your voracious reading will rub off on quite a few of those first grade friends! Thanks for sharing your thoughts this week!

  2. Chris,
    I love the idea of asking students how to make reading goals and records work for them, after all, who would know better! I need to start implementing this with my 4th graders when I come to an idea that I'm just not sure how to implement in the best way possible for my students. You have so many great ideas and your students will definitely benefit from them.


  3. Hi Chris,
    I enjoyed reading how Reading in the Wild applies to you and your classroom. Do you have an iPad in your room? I'm wondering if there is some way you can use it (or a computer) to keep track of book lists and goals. Students could take pictures and each create their own photo albums to keep track of their ideas. Padlet is a great program that I've seen so many people using recently. There may be a way to incorporate it, as well. I will be using the digital picture frame idea in our library, as well.

  4. Like the digital picture frame idea! Last year I kept a bulletin board with copies of the book covers of each of our read alouds, which we updated each month, that helped kids remembe what we had done and refer to previous books. I like the idea of book bags too to help students get into "edge" reading.

  5. Chris,
    In the past years we have used Shelfari to record the books we read together during read aloud. The idea of using a picture frame should bring much attention to these titles. You have so many great ideas for cultivating wild readers here. Your students are lucky to have you. I can't wait to follow the journey.

    Of course, you caught my attention with the challenges of supporting readers in limited time frames and helping them to keep up with peers. I hope to pick your brain and your blog posts in the upcoming months as I start this journey.