For the past few years my staff has done an optional educational book study during the summer. We organize a chapter reading schedule at the beginning of the summer and a wiki is created as a place to respond to the readings.
Here are the books that we have read:
This year we read
Comprehension From the Ground Up
by Sharon Taberski
I have loved every book that we have read, not only for the content
but because of the opportunity to read it with my colleagues.
Here are some highlights from Comprehension From the Ground Up:
Sharon's pillars of reading: comprehension is the roof and talking, writing and reading are the foundation
see the components of a balanced literacy program as a menu, not a checklist
independent reading is one of the most important components of a balanced literacy program, not an extra
independent reading promotes accurate fluent reading, builds background knowledge, improves vocabulary, enhances familiarity with language structures, provides time to practice skills and strategies and helps children fall in love with books
help students choose books for independent reading that have a purpose
have a reader share chair to encourage children to share the books they are reading with their peers
"look books" are books children can't read on their own, but they can look through them and learn
prior knowledge is the sum total of all that we've experienced throughout our lives and background knowledge is the knowledge of the world we've accrued through our formal education and our understanding of the world
for every fictional picture book you prop up to entice kids to read, sitting right alongside it should be an informational text
organize your nonfiction read-alouds starting with the simplest and progressing to the most difficult
comparing "what's in the book" to "what's in my head"
ideas for using a reading/writing notebook
difference between skills and strategies: skills are automatic and strategies are deliberately applied
don't try to teach all the strategies, doing fewer practices well is better than silencing children as you rush to check off items on your teaching to-do list
great ideas and resources for the use of reader's theater
teachers need to consciously build vocabulary for children
there are two types of ABC books, those that teach content and those that teach concepts
slow down, don't assume that children know things and dive deeper into concepts
think about who does most of the talking in your classroom?
schools should have discussions about what their repertoire of strategies are and how they are used at each grade level
our best teaching occurs when we respond to what we observe students needing instead of just moving through items in the curriculum
I had the pleasure of spending a week with Sharon Taberski at the Lakota Literacy View this summer...
I made my own gradebook this year. I made a classlist grid for each subject and placed them in section for each of the 4 quarters of the school year. In the back I made a section for taking notes or recording responses. I designed and laminated the front and back cover, copied my class information on the inside of the cover and took it all to Kinko's to be spiral bound for the price of $3.00. I have wanted to do this for years...so excited that I finally took the time to get it done! I will use this and a "growing learners" notebook for writing workshop and work station conferences to keep me super organized this year. To keep track of papers and work samples I use a folder for each student that I can easily take to meetings or organize for conferences.