Franki reminds us, "Minilessons should empower students and help them develop strong identities as readers." This book not only helps us find ways to empower our readers, but I found it energizing and empowering for me as an educator. Lately discussion in education has turned to measuring, sorting, comparing, and grouping learners. This book reminds us that looking at data is just part of the work we have as teachers. "When we know where we need to focus our teaching and what students need, then the hard work of planning and the important work of teaching can begin," according to Franki.
In this book, Franki revisits the significance of planning in instruction. She shares the way she plans cycles of minilesssons and the way these cycles build upon one another. She begins the discussion by talking about the key characteristics of minilessons and their importance in our classroom communities. Then sharing the ways she uses what she knows about the students, the curriculum and the resources that will support and scaffold the study. The goal always remains giving young learners the tools they need to grow as readers.
The Planning Process
In the book, Franki shares her thinking through the process of planning four different lesson cycles:
- Readers Think as They Read
- Exploring Character
- Nonfiction Reading
She demonstrates the way she breaks each cycle into smaller lessons and scaffolds students as they learn. She talks about changing directions, the resources she uses, and the ways she monitors student understanding. Franki's lesson samples provide a glimpse into her planning process and the way minilessons support readers in the classroom.
Franki is refreshingly honest about her shifts in thinking across years of teaching. In her chapter, "Nonfiction Reading: Rethinking Lesson Cycles We've Always Taught," she shares the changes she's made in the way she has revisioned her nonfiction minilesson cycle to better support readers. By reconsidering what students bring to the study, new types of nonfiction, demands upon the reader in nonfiction reading, and resources now available, Franki steps us through the process of planning this cycle of instruction through a new lens.
Franki reminds us that the work we do is important. The planning process cannot be replaced by companies and scripts that do not know the children that live in our classrooms. I know this book will be invaluable as I plan and revision cycles of minilessons for learners. Thanks for reminding us of the joy, Franki.
Read Other Reviews:
- Katie DiCesare, Creative Literacy
- Donalyn Miller, Nerdy Book Club
- Katherine Sokolowski interviews Franki at Read, Write, Reflect