Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Developing Wild Readers: #cyberPD Week 2

The #cyberPD conversation continues to grow.  Today we are discussing chapters 3 and 4 of Donalyn Miller's book:  Reading in the Wild.

  • Chapter 3:  Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Other Readers
  • Chapter 4:  Wild Readers Have Reading Plans
Stop by Laura Komos's blog today, Ruminate and Invigorate, for today's discussion. 

To Participate:
After three previous years of participation I can tell you I am amazed by how much I learn as I move from blog to blog.  I value the varying perspectives from other colleagues joining the conversation. Because it is the conversation that matters, I suggest reading and commenting on at least three other posts each week.  

Connected Communities 
Donalyn shares a quote by Jeff Wilhelm (loc 1760) that will stay with me awhile this year, "What's your bottom line?  What do you really want to happen for your students?  Now, how does what you do every day serve that bottom line?"  When I think about my upcoming work alongside students needing extra support as readers, I am continually drawn back to this idea of the significance of reading community.  If I want these students to become passionate about reading, I know they will need the support of their reading communities.  I'm continually asking how I can support these students in building a reading life beyond our time together.  Donalyn reminds us, "At the campus level, scrutinize every component of the school day to determine if your procedures, policies, and systems support or hinder students' reading. (loc 1836)"

To help shape the reading lives of young literacy learners I want to be able to help them to connect: connect with other readers (community), connect with a next book, and connect with story.  How can I lift readers up to help them see themselves as part of this reading community?  

  • Create a reading "hub":  My hope is to recreate my Weebly site to serve parents, readers, and classroom teachers.  This will be a place to provide information to parents "about the importance of daily reading, increasing book access through libraries and book ownership, and promoting the value of reading aloud (loc 1809)" to children as well as share recommendations for books with families.  Additionally, this site will be able to house links to digital reading work students have created and recommendations for books.  Perhaps an "iRecommend" page can house blog posts and video commercials for books.  
  • Create reading clubs:  Leaving the classroom is going be hard as I know I will miss being a part of this community so I'm trying to rethink my community.  How can I create a culture of reading in our school?  Creating reading clubs to provide opportunities for readers to connect with one another is at the top of this list.  
  • Share my reading life:  I keep track of my reading (usually) on Shelfari, but I would like to make this visible to the readers I will be sitting beside each day.  Creating "shelfies" of my favorite titles and displaying my "currently reading" (loc 1809) books is at the top of this list.
  • Provide opportunities for students to share their reading lives:  I'm thinking a display outside the room I'll be working from is one way to honor the reading lives of my students.  Displaying covers of their current recommendations with stars and explanations might be a great way to start. (Tapping into their home reading lives early is going to be a first step in this journey.)
  • Lift reading voices:  With a little help from the school news team, readers can share book titles with our school community.   (Book commercials, loc 2206) 
  • Book swaps (loc 2785):  I'm thinking the idea of having students bring a book from home (or choosing from a collection of books I need to weed from my old classroom library) and hosting book swaps before breaks with students I will be supporting is a great way to send the message of the importance of continuing to read.  It seems like a fun way to celebrate reading as well!
  • Graffiti Walls (loc 2177):  Creating spaces, digital or paper, to share favorite lines from books would be one way to honor the voices of readers and build community.   
  • Rethink grouping:  Look for opportunities to have readers learn alongside other readers within their communities to form connections to support readers across the day.  
  • Develop reading plans (loc 2511):  Consider the reading plans students have during their reading workshops and when taking reading home.  Help to make connections to next books and create reading plans.  (This video with Tammy Mulligan demonstrates one way to help students learn to make "reading plans."  It is Choice Literacy premium for member access.)
When considering building reading communities, Donalyn Miller shares some community building titles for middle grades (loc 2132).  It made me ponder community building books for primary grades.  I thought I'd try to consider her topic and some titles I would recommend.  Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.

Communities That Read and Write
Follow Cathy 's board Books About Reading on Pinterest. Follow Cathy 's board Books About Writing on Pinterest.

Communities That Value All Members
Follow Cathy 's board Social Imagery on Pinterest.

Communities That Have Fun

Follow Cathy 's board Laugh Out Loud on Pinterest.

Communities That Care About the World

Follow Cathy 's board Go Green: Taking Care of Our Planet on Pinterest.

Join us next week as we discuss chapter 5-6 with Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone.


  1. I really like the different spin you are giving your reading of the book based on your new position. It is a great reminder that we all have a role to play in building reading communities and the fact that we can never have too many reading communities!

  2. The Wilhelm quote stuck out for me too, in fact, I wrote it in my notebook that I'm using for my new College Prep Lit class. It's helping me already decide on a vision for the class.

  3. I like the list of all you feel you might try to help build your reading community. I am thinking of a "mother-daughter" evening book club. I think it would be great fun! We could read books together, discuss them, have snacks related to the book, maybe do a quick activity. I'm excited about it. Hopefully the teacher contract will settle easily and early so this idea doesn't get eaten up by job action. Thanks for the lists of books too!

  4. One picture I love is the story of Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson, about the community building after Hurricane Katrina. I love the idea of your expansion of the reading Hub-sounds good. One thing our school does do is foster a great buddy program. Everyone is either an older or a younger buddy & they meet weekly. I hope I'll be able to persuade the classes to share their reading lives with each other sometimes during that time. Sharing all you can about your own reading will be helpful too, like your shelf outside your door. Thanks for the video link from Tammy. I'll be sure to look for it, Cathy. Best wishes for your new position!

  5. Really like your idea of using the "hub" to get parents to buy-in to the reading and discussions happening in your room. I feel like that might be a good solution to help head off the "what books does my child need to read" kinds of anxious list-checking questions I often get from parents and to nurture something more meaningful.

  6. My colleague and I have tossed around the idea of putting together a website or newsletter to update parents, but we've never actually gotten it put together. One day we keep saying!
    I read the book The Reader by Amy Hest this week and I thought it was a perfect picture book to use with young readers to talk to them about what being a reader means. I got it from the library but then ordered it because it's one I want to use over and over!

  7. Cathy,

    So much great thinking and ideas nestled in this post! I love the idea of an online reading "hub." This has always been on my list of things to do as well, but time is my restraining force! I'd love to share ideas of what to include on a similar website while thinking about why it is included! I feel at times I should include everything, but in reality, it can be too overwhelming and is it serving my bottom line? (That quote stuck with me too!) I think what you like about your weebly site is that some is public and some is private. Were you thinking the student work and recommendations would be private? Hmmm... just thinking out loud here. I'm having many conversations about supporting parents. Do we, as a community, create an online community resource for parents?

    I can't wait to hear more about your reading clubs and how you are rethinking grouping. I think this is an important connection that we need to make -- that what happens in my room needs to transfer to the classroom and vise versa. Again, working more closely with teachers is important.

    And your Pinterest boards of book categories is a fabulous resource! Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Teachers for TeachersJuly 17, 2014 at 7:38 PM


    So many wonderful ideas for using technology to build communication between families, students and teachers. Thank you for sharing these terrific ideas. We can't wait to read your posts and learn as you implement these strategies with readers. Thanks for linking our video too.