Sorry for being a bit behind for this last #cyberPD post. I’ve been on a family vacation in England and had hoped to write the post before I left. That did not happen. Then, with spotty wifi, very busy days, and trying to be present in the moment, my post was delayed. I am however, loving seeing all of the children’s books inspirations for Harry Potter, Peter Rabbit, Paddington Bear, and The Secret Garden, just to name a few. Some day I will travel back to England to do the children’s literature version of this trip, maybe with some book friends who would appreciate it more than my family…any takers?
As I read chapter 5, I realized how much Donalyn knows her students as readers. The things she writes are true and I know because I have experienced them the same way in my own classroom and library. I’m glad she is able to articulate them so well and to write about them in such an engaging way. While I would definitely have used her sections about reading habits conferences when I was a classroom teacher (and would recommend it to any teacher struggling with meaningful conferring in the reading workshop), I do not think the library is a place that such conferences can or will happen due to time and continuity constraints. There were, however, many other library takeaways from this last chapter of the book:
- Student reading preferences offer us much insight into students as readers. Donalyn states that “true preferences come from wide reading and positive encounters with books (p.167).” Asking students their preferences can help reveal how much experience they’ve had with books and just the opposite, how little experience they have had. Either way, we’ve learned important information that can inform us and allow us to better help our students.
- Librarians and teachers must push ourselves to read widely in order to best serve our students. We need to be reading role models to our students and we need to be able to recommend books to all readers, not just those readers who like the same books as we do. This has been a goal of mine this summer, as I’ve been reading lots more science fiction.
- “Students’ preferences can provide a starting point for building positive reading relationships between us and our students (p.168).”
- “Preferences are not fixed. Wild readers move between different types of reading material depending on their needs and interests at any given time (p. 169).” I thought the types of reading preferences Donalyn listed, as well as, tips for how to help readers who may be stuck were interesting and helpful.
- I appreciated the fact that she included so much information about graphic novels. Before moving into my role as a librarian I did not truly understand the power of graphic novels. I inherited a library with almost no graphic novels and have been working to build our graphic novel collection. They are the most “in demand” books in the library. I love the fact that all readers enjoy them and that they offer struggling readers the opportunity to be part of the reading community.
- I realized when I read the section about nonfiction that my experiences in the library are in line with Donalyn’s in her classroom. Younger students check out a great deal more nonfiction than older students. They are still interested in what these books can offer them and they are still curious. Older students often look for nonfiction books to fulfill research project requirements. Though, I have been buying quality nonfiction books for older students, they have not been getting checked out. I need to focus on nonfiction more with older students this year (and not just when it’s “research time”).
- A great nonfiction author that I would recommend is Meghan McCarthy (http://www.meghan-mccarthy.com). She visited our school last year and our students and teachers love her books! Her goal is to write nonfiction that’s fun and she does. Our students liked that her books were about topics they did not know much about, like the invention of bubble gum and the War of the Worlds radio broadcast.
Participating in #cyberPD was a great experience again this year. Thanks to those that hosted and put in so much effort to organize and comment!
I’m looking forward to learning together again in the upcoming Twitter chat!