- Chapter 5: Wild Readers Show Preferences
Stop by Michelle Nero's blog today, Literacy Learning Zone, for today's discussion.
Preferences and Wild Readers
|Reading in the Wild|
When talking about reading preferences, "social readers" cannot be overlooked. In my opinion there are three kinds of social readers, there is the "compliant social reader." This reader reads whatever his/her friend is reading, providing little input into book selection, not demonstrating the same satisfaction with the book as the lead reader, and doesn't take these reading selections into his/her personal reading life. I worry about this reader a bit, but if I take the time to determine the motivation behind this behavior next steps are easier to find. There's the "friendly reader." This reader loves to join groups and talk about books. She/he is often sitting beside friends ready to listen to discussions about books and use these discussions to shape personal reading. This reader selects books to discuss them with friends, share discoveries, and be a part of the group. The "lead reader" is someone everyone comes to for book advice. If the lead reader wants a book, it is most likely the book will become a hot title in the classroom library. All three of these readers thrive on the social aspect of their reading lives. It is the social interaction that brings them into the process and keeps them in "next books."
In the last ten years of my teaching, I've become more aware of the need to discuss reading preferences and their importance in building a reading life. As I read Donalyn's book, I realized there still is need for me to look beyond the school day and link these conversations to reading outside of school. Finding opportunities across the year for short "reading preference" surveys, might be an interesting way to look back at the end of the year to see how our reading lives have grown and build plans for the summer with greater purpose.
Finding friends who share preferences can help us know who students can talk to when finding next books. I'm always trying to find ways to turn readers back toward each other as it seems the advice of a peer carries more power in moving forward. It also builds those connects which might help in the years following our time together in our classroom. Understanding preferences supports readers in finding next books, but it also opens the door to conversations about filling our reading gaps and trying something new. When I think about those readers who get stuck in an author, character, or genre, it seems knowing preferences can help us to find those next titles and work toward balancing our reading more.
As I think about working with developing readers in the upcoming school year, Donalyn has made me think about the significance of helping them to build a reading life that extends beyond our school day. In relation to preferences, ideally in the first weeks of school as I hope to work beside students in their classrooms and discover their preferences and habits as readers. In the first weeks I will do this in a survey, but also by watching the choices they make and their social interactions within their workshops. In the following months, I would like to quickly follow up on these preferences to look for signs of growth and change. As students transition away from support, I will want to make sure students have in place reading habits and connections that will help them continue to move forward independently.
Here's a form, adapted from experience and the many points shared by Donalyn Miller in her books, that I hope to use in the first weeks. My plan is to link the form in Evernote and then complete it in beginning conversations with readers. It's still in progress, but here's what I envision:
Scheduled #cyberPD Events.