This is part five of my reflections on the International Reading Association’s Institute called, “Revisiting Silent Reading: New Directions for Teachers and Researchers” that was held in Chicago on April 25, 2010. You can find part one here. In that part, I discussed the presentations from P. David Pearson and Susie Goodin; D. Ray Reutzel; and Kathleen Wilson. You can find part two here. In that part, I discussed the presentation from S. Jay Samuels titled, “Movements and Reading: Without them you cannot read.” You can find part three here. In that part, I discussed Devon Brenner’s presentation, “Increasing eyes on text in high-impact schools.” You can find part four here. In that part, I discussed Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen’s presentation, “Why so much oral reading in reading lessons & elsewhere?”
After Allington & McGill-Franzen’s presentation, we had our choice of three breakout sessions. I meant to write about the one I attended, but I ended up writing about one I did not attend. This session was called, “R5: A sustained silent reading makeover” and it was presented by Michelle J. Kelley and Nicki Clausen-Grace. Although I did not attend their session, I received a copy of their handouts and they piqued my interest very much.
Luckily, their website, www.teachingcomprehension.org was listed on the handout. I just spent quite a bit of time there and found some great things. I found (and read) chapter three “Launching R5″ from their book, R5 in Your Classroom: A Guide to Differentiating Independent Reading and Developing Avid Readers (Kelley & Clausen-Grace, 2006). It was a great read, made me TWRC, and made me want to read the entire book. My guess is that the handouts I received at the institute are included in that book. If they are not, I think you should be able to access them at the library section of Elfrieda H. Hiebert’s website in the near future.
Because of a link on their website, I also found a podcast based on their book for teachers, but geared towards how parents can help implement R5 in the home. R5 stands for “Read, relax, reflect, respond, and rap. I listened to the podcast and found that it made me TWRC some more. You can listen to this International Reading Association podcast, “Creating a home reading program” here.
Thinking about the entire institute and all the additional resources I discovered while TWRCing about it, I think it is clear that, teachers need to do more than just model reading during independent reading time–especially for struggling readers. We need to go from having Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) to having Scaffolded Silent Reading (ScSR) in the classroom. From what I learned in the institute and this PowerPoint by D. Ray Reutzel, “Exploring Scaffolded Silent Reading (ScSR): Effective Practice for Increasing Reading Fluency and Comprehension,” my understanding of ScSR is that teachers need to:
- Guide students’ text selection to optimize reading engagement and ensure independent level reading.
- Monitor student behavior and hold them accountable.
- Provide feedback to students.
Although I have only read the institute handouts and chapter three of the R5 book, I do think this model targets all important aspects of ScSR. However, I think a book I received as a member of the International Reading Association’s Book of the Month Club might target guiding students’ reading selection even better. The book is titled, BOOKMATCH: How to Scaffold Student Book Selection for Independent Reading (Wedwick & Wutz, 2008).
Although I did not read this book in its entirety either, I talked with my students (all struggling readers) at length about each letter in the BOOKMATCH acronym and posted charts in the room for reference. I believe that this really helped many of them become better at finding “just right books” because each letter in the acronym easily led to discussions of what makes books difficult for readers–a concept that is difficult for many struggling readers to understand. Our discussions and the reference charts also gave us common language to use throughout the year when discussing books students found personally challenging. Reproducibles that explain the acronym, “BOOKMATCH” can be found here. (Note: The reproducibles were free when this post was originally written.)
On the BOOKMATCH website, I found a video that is an “overview of BOOKMATCH and part of a lesson in which Jessica introduces sorting as a way for the first graders to take ownership of the classroom library.” Although it took a while to load, I think watching it was well worth my time. I imagine these students really did have a great sense of ownership of their classroom library and student excitement over the available books was evident–two very good things. You can find that video here.
Another important part to think about during ScSR is managing the classroom library. Personally, I continuously refined how I did this through the years, but I know my management still could use improvement. Recently, I read a great post by a very passionate literacy advocate, Tess Alfonsin and it gave me plenty of great ideas for the future. The post is titled, “Classroom Library Check Out System” and is a great read.
In her post, Tess also links to a book that I really want to read–The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller aka “The Book Whisperer”. Both Tess and Donalyn are on Twitter. If you use Twitter, I highly recommend you follow them. They are very knowledgeable and passionate about matching books to readers. A few others who fit this category are Paul W. Hankins, Teri S. Lesesne aka “Professor Nana” and “The Goddess of Young Adult Literature”, and Keith Schoch. If you use Twitter, who do you consider great at matching books to readers?
Well, I thought I would wrap up my TWRCs on this institute today, but I think I will end here instead. I would love to hear what you think about what I have shared so far. I also wonder if you use any of the resources I mentioned or if you think you will use them in the future. How do you teach your students to select books? What do you use for accountability purposes? How do you give your students feedback during this time?
**Updated 8/19/2010: Click here to find all presentation handouts from this institute at http://www.textproject.org.**
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