Reading Goals: Then and Now

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On October 18, 2017, I wrote a blog post about my reading goals/solutions for schools and for myself. Today, I revisit that post and update my goals; I look forward the future.

Make reading in school FUN again.

THEN: The fondest memories I have of school reading are of teachers who read aloud fantastic stories (using the voices of characters!) and showed us wonderful covers of beautiful books in well-stocked libraries, where we could choose what we wanted to read to take home. We got to use free time to peruse almanacs, maps, atlases, and we talked about the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not tales that grossed us out the most. Every year, my family saved money for the Scholastic Book Fair, because we would get new books to read and share. I was a good reader because I read. We read a lot.

NOW: The best part of being a school librarian is sharing a brand new book, just out of the box, with students in the room. “Look what I just received!” I yell across the room, so people in the hallways hear me. “Come and see!” As students gather around my counter, I show them the fresh titles to add to the collection, and bright eyes open wide. Students clamor to be the first to check out the best titles – the ones they’ve been waiting for – and the few minutes of time I spend book talking is FUN. The line forms at the checkout sign; I place books in readers’ hands. THAT’S what it’s all about. I still dream of a school where reading is the most important activity during reading class, and where students want to come to school, because it’s fun.

Make real reading a priority. Real reading.

THEN: That means no snippets of articles or excerpts of stories that have been torn apart and meticulously “leveled” back together to “help” children read. Real reading. That means real books — not basal readers. Real reading. That means real authors weaving their own creations and illustrators designing the pages to make readers say,”Ah! Wow! Awesome!” Real reading, where students are led to practice (at least 20 minutes a day, uninterrupted, in school) with the help of a qualified reading teacher and supports that are there and can be taken away so students can transfer their learning from one text to another. (Yes, this means direct instruction, led by a teacher, and not a computer monitor.)

NOW: Real reading is still my goal, and it’s a tough sell. Administration members (outside the school building) send emails, speak at meetings, and send reports, making sure all teachers know that we MUST follow the mandates “with fidelity.” We MUST account for the ISTEP scores of students. We MUST raise student achievement. Recently, there’s been a push with a big-name researcher to hold teachers accountable by following a certain plan, a certain program, or a certain method of teaching reading. If one does not comply, then shame on you! Some loud-speaking “experts” say that books are not necessary to learn to read, or computer programs teach just as well as teachers (or better), or independent reading time is just a frivolous dream and not worthy of adding to the school day. All of these issues are frustrating (and wrong!), and teachers continue to fight back, citing their own evidence, following researchers who care about kids, teaching children to read in spite of those mandates. Real reading is really needed — inside schools. Students count on us to help them learn, and we are letting them down with each failing grade/standardized assessment.

Invite teachers to attend professional development:

THEN: Conferences, workshops, classes, etc. that will enhance their skills in teaching reading. Build PLNs (Professional Learning Networks) where teachers can learn with other educators and support each other in the work. (Yes! It’s work. That’s okay.) Have teachers practice “best practices” in reading, and watch how they — and their students — grow.

NOW: I still promote author signings and events, conferences, and workshops. I am a life-long learner, and I love sharing my learning with others. My author friends and conference teammates are essential to my learning and my sharing – we promote authentic reading, writing, thinking, and learning. I invited teachers to travel with me to events and share in the joy of learning something new. I will continue traveling and connecting with others not only because I love it, but because I challenge myself to take those conversations and lessons back to the classroom, where kids are waiting.

Promote reading/literacy in each community in the nation.

THEN: (Not just for the affluent communities) Education is important, and reading is important for one to become an educated, intelligent citizen of our world. Be a reader yourself, spend time talking about reading, and spread the book love! (This is my favorite part of being a reader in the global community.)

NOW: I am officially a professional development presenter and speaker. This is my most important dream come true. I love it! I look forward to many adventures in the future, spreading book love and helping others to be as passionate as I am about reading, and teaching reading and writing. Another dream I’m following now is my friend’s dream to open an indie bookstore for our community – encouraging children and teens to “read locally, connect globally.” This is a wonderful way to spread the book love AND help our youth. I’m also researching and reading on my own, and I renewed my memberships to worthwhile organizations such as NCTE, ILA, and ALA. I continue to join Twitter chats, such as #kidlitwomen, #wndb, #tcrwp, and #g2great. We need intelligent citizens in our country who know how to read, write, and think. I will continue to find ways to lift up our youth and promote literacy. THIS is the time. THIS is the place. And as our school motto reads, “I am the one!

Slice of Life Tuesday: Book Birthdays

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books_zackdelacruzjustmyluckSlice of Life Small Logo

So many new book birthdays today;books_asheshistorical3

“So little time,” I have to say.

I want to sit and read the books.

I want to read without the dirty looks!bookbirthdayoct4

If I had all the time in the world,

You’d find me curled, furled…

celebrating!

Images from John Schu’s Book Release Calendar 2016 and Goodreads.com

Slice of Life Tuesday: Spring Break Books

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Slice of Life Small LogoI didn’t go anywhere for spring break. I’m home to clean, relax, and read. Yesterday I got most of my business done: phone calls, appointments for home maintenance, declutter tasks.

Today was my day to relax. What did I do? Well, it’s Tuesday. That means BOOK BIRTHDAYS! I drove to the local bookstore to shop. I’ve been waiting for Booked by Kwame Alexander since last November. I gathered The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle, I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, and In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and my adult title of the day). One of the clerks asked me if I needed a shopping bag. I replied, “No, thank you. If I have a shopping bag, I’ll go over budget. Carrying these keeps me safe.” She giggled at my logic. I giggled, too, but it was true.

BookStackSpringBreak040516

There were lots of book birthdays last week and this week, as well as poetry month titles to keep me inside the bookstore. (Don’t worry; I wasn’t missing anything outside. The high temperature today was 46 degrees and it was windy.)

One surprise I didn’t expect was Going Places, by Peter and Paul Reynolds. This was a fabulous find! I cannot believe nobody recommended it to me yet. I’ve loved Peter Reynolds’ ish and The Dot since we discussed them in our Good to Great (#g2great) chats. I read this new title right there at the display, and promptly placed it in my fully stacked arms. Off to the register!Books_GoingPlaces

Now all I have to do tonight is read. Go away! I’m busy. (He He)

Slice of Life Story Challenge Day 8: Book Stack

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BookStack030816Slice of Life Small LogoI have a large book stack. I also have a large headache.

I wish I could be home sick and read.

The stack will wait for me.

 

 

Slice of Life Tuesday: Starting a New Club for Those Slicers NOT going to NCTE!

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I’m starting a new club — who wants to join?

Requirement for my club: You will NOT be attending the FABULOUS NCTE conference at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor this week! (#NCTE14)

Just kidding.

I WAS going, but…you know, life. And money. And work. Well, I will definitely be logged in on Twitter and Facebook to see all the wonderful learning posts and all the reunion comments by those in attendance.  I will be working, going to the orthodontist with my daughter, grading reading and writing notebooks, and attending a parent conference. Later this weekend, I will complain of the cold, make some crock pot dinner, and watch movies with a cup of hot tea. Then, I will try to get some Christmas shopping done, pay the bills, and read more books. Finally, I will let the dog out, write some essays, and get some sleep… and dream of “next time” –when I will be able to attend the conference and meet all of my Slicer friends in person!

Have a great week everybody!