This post is a few days late due to the storm earlier this week, but hopefully you will find something helpful in it so as to overlook my tardiness. LOL
I've read several professional books this year which had reading as their subject. My county has adopted CAFE and Daily 5 for all the elementary schools so I thought it might be good if I stayed in the loop on what was taking place in the classroom. It also helps for me to use the same vocabulary and language in the Media Center as what is being used in the classroom. So I started with these books at the beginning of the school year.
The first book I tackled was the CAFE book by "The Sisters" Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. Even before I had cracked open this book, I had already heard a lot about it through bloggy land. I even had a CAFE board made and up in the Media Center before reading this book, so it was nice to be able to understand the idea behind it. I also liked knowing some of the subheadings that go under each of the letters in CAFE. I try to use some of the same words when I am teaching the younger grades about choosing good fit books as well as when I am reading a story to them.
Next I read the Daily 5, also by "The Sisters". This was a bit more difficult for me to relate to as I can't really implement the Daily 5 in the Media Center. However, I do find myself talking about "read to self" or "read to someone" when students are waiting with the books they have just checked out for their other classmates to finish with check out.
Then I decided to read The Book Whisper by Donalyn Miller because it was also a book that had been going around bloggy land. I found this book more interesting than the last two. There were tons of great ideas for getting students interested in reading in the classroom which I can happily promote to classroom teachers through this book. I loved Miller's description of the "Dormant" reader and "Underground" reader, and her ideas for making the most of "wasted" time to read...like waiting in line for school pictures. She also promotes being a role model reader. Let the students see you read. Love that! Included in the book are sample reading interest surveys and an end-of-year reading evaluation.
Then I read The Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell. I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Book Whisperer, mostly because it seemed to be saying the same thing as The Book Whisperer. Atwell is also big on teachers modeling reading, but she also supports talking about reading, both by students and teachers. She recommends meeting with every student as often as possible to do a "status of the class" to see where every student is in a book and to help suggest new books if needed. She shares how to implement her ideas as well as items you can copy and print.
I also read Igniting a Passion for Reading by Dr. Steven L. Layne. Again, I have not found much in the way of new ideas; mainly just echoings of the previous four books: give students choice, be a good model, encourage students to read different genres, have students gove book chats, a.k.a. book talks. I guess that it is good that the "experts" are pretty much in agreement about how to get kids to read and like it. Some of the ideas that I liked in this book were
- First Read Club- Students who are the first to read a book get to add their name to a special sticker placed in the book, but they also must be willing to share about the book with others
- Teacher's Hot Read- Teachers can highlight a book in their classroom by using a special place in their room
- Create a Reading Lounge...not in the library- find a space at your school to create a Reading Lounge where students can go to just read and only read...no writing utensils allowed in this room. This will require funding as a lounge needs books (not library books) and comfy chairs or couches, but Layne gives ideas for funding this project.
- Book Chat notebook- a place to keep book chat forms to refer back to in following years
I picked up Library Sparks: Library Lessons edited by Diane Findlay with some Book Fair funds. I was hoping it would "spark" some great ideas for media/library lessons. But it didn't do much for me.
Although I found it helpful to read these books and even got a few good ideas from them, by far my favorite professional read that I've come across in the last two years is Best Books for Boys. I originally purchased this book because of a question asked of me at my interview for this position...how will you motivate our boys to read? I wasn't happy with my answer and knew I needed to do some research. That's when I found this book. And I have definitely gotten my money's worth. Not only does the majority of this book give a listing of some fantastic books to get your boys (and girls) hooked into reading, but it also gives some fantastic ideas for fostering a love of reading. I think I underlined and highlighted just about every other sentence in the first 25 pages of this book. It really made me think about and change the way I view what reading is and how it looks for different readers. I use the books listed in the last 125 pages to guide my book orders. I always make sure to order at least 10 books that are recommended for every book order I make. I love this book so much that I carry it around in my "teacher" bag and whenever the opportunity presents itself, I find a way to recommend this book to all my peers.
Two other professional reads that I've been enjoying are The Tibrarian Handbook by Christine Varachi and The Centered School Library by Cari Young (author of The Centered School Library blog). I was able to purchase both of these books through Scholastic with Scholastic Dollars. While Library Sparks didn't really do much for me, I am finding some great ideas in these books. The Tibrarian Handbook gives lesson samples for grades K-5 as well as ideas for motivating reading, using technology and behavior management. The Centered School Library gives ideas for using centers in your library with center examples ready to copy, cut, laminate, and use. Both two good books for any elementary librarian to own.
Have you read any good professional books lately?
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