So we read Penny Kittle’s “Book Love” chapters eight and nine this week. I really wanted to share 4 things that I found in these chapters that I liked…
1. Big Idea Books:
Big idea books connect the readers with books that they might enjoy. It is a great idea to have available for students to get book ideas from. These books also track the students’ reading. By using these, we as teachers can look at the themes are students are interested in and how we can use that in teaching. We can also see which books are really popular for the students and get ideas for our classroom library if we want to add the books mentioned that we don’t already have. I like this idea to have in the classroom, and will probably steal it. I don’t know that I would want students to write a ton in the Big Idea Books, but it would be a great way to have handy reviews from each book they read and let them rate the books. Other students can then reference the ratings if the book talk catches their attention.
2. Quality Reading Reflections:
This idea I liked, but would probably tweak for my classroom. I loved the ideas and using it as a way to let the students reflect on their reading, but I don’t know how I like doing this quarterly. While they are called quality reading reflections, I don’t necessarily think that I would get quality work if students had to do one each quarter. If I used these in my classroom, I feel like the students and I would benefit more from using them as a final instead. By using them twice a year, I feel like students may be able to reflect more on how they are doing and how they can improve or challenge themselves.
3. Reform of Standardized Testing
Can I just say YES, PLEASE! Right now we have testing that is benefiting the minority of students, not the majority. It doesn’t help that politicians with no background (or very little background) in education are having such a big say in standardized testing. I am all for less standardized testing and more individualized testing. By making the tests less standardized, we can get a more accurate representation of where our students really are in their reading and learning.
4. Getting Everyone Involved
I absolutely love the idea of having school-wide reading time. I mean school-wide when I say this too, teachers and students and faculty. If everyone is involved, students would be able to find support in their friends, teachers, and even in the principal when they get reading. If everyone is reading, we show how much the teachers and faculty care about reading and how much we encourage students to read. I understand this would be requiring them to read, but what if the students were given the time and only highly encouraged to read. If they don’t feel it is a graded part of class, maybe we can ease non-readers into reading when they notice others reading. Now, I probably won’t come out and say “highly encouraged,” but I might just mention it is silent reading time and not harass students that aren’t reading. I know it felt like a prison sentence for some students back in middle school when the teachers pounced on them when they weren’t reading. I wan’t to create an encouraging environment for students all over the school to be able to read for part of the day.
Some of these things will need figured out and others may not happen in my teaching career, but these 4 ideas really struck me when I was reading…