Wednesday, June 13, 2012

And the #1 thing I learned this year...

#1  Reading is inter-dependent.

My classroom community of readers, my virtual community of bloggers, and my reading life all contain communities.  In each of these communities, no one reads alone.  Each particular community has members and the members within that community rely on each other to experience the joy that reading and conversations can bring.  As readers, we are free to choose what we read, but this choice is influenced by book recommendations, book trailers, and book previews.  As readers, we can "jot" and have conversations, but no one can control our own experience and thinking while reading a book.  As readers, we need guidance.  We need to see how everyone's thinking connects back to the same text that we just read, how it connects to other texts and experiences, and we need the care and support of other readers to try anything new or to understand a new perspective.

My classroom readers:  At the end of the year, 12 out of my 21 students listed book clubs/book partners as the number one component that they needed as a reader this year.  Their comments say it all...

"A part of reading workshop that has impacted me as a reader is book partners or book clubs.  It helps me to know that I have someone to talk to about the book.  They help pace me to read and that has helped me a lot this year when I tried new kinds of books."

"Book clubs helped me as a reader.  Book clubs have helped me because I can talk to someone and tell them what I think.  Sometimes we will agree and sometimes we won't.  When we did disagree, we combined our brains and came up with what we both thought."

"A part of reading workshop that I thought was important to me is book clubs because books aren't made to be easy so if I have trouble understanding a word I can talk about it or if I have trouble understanding what's going on I can have help from a group and then I can learn from what they are saying."

"Book partners has impacted my reading because if we hadn't done book partners then I wouldn't have been reading the Hatchet series with my friend for the WHOLE year.  I also had someone to share my thoughts with, its hard to share thoughts with yourself."

My blogging community:  Think about the way blogging is set up.  We give "blogs we follow" along the side...recommendations.  We have a "comments" section so we can virtually talk...conversations.  We have a "followers" section so we can see who else we can talk with about a partners or blog clubs.  We have an "about me" section so we can understand the perspective of the writing.  I know that my blogging is inter-dependent as well.  I anxiously await comments because I feel I have "put it all out there" and want others to connect thinking back with me.  Also, without the care and support of other bloggers, I would not have tried blogging or wondered if I should join Twitter for virtual PD.

Thank you to my students and to the blogging community for helping me to realize that reading experiences matter and that when we share is priceless.


  1. Thanks for the reminder about how important talk and partnerships are to all readers! My goal is to set up more reading partnerships next year. I found some of my boys especially were more motivated to read independently, outside of their guided reading books when they were allowed to share a book with a buddy and discuss thinking as they went. I'm hoping to encourage more of this next year.

  2. My boys were the ones who loved it the most! I would love to hear your "top 5" for this year as well!

  3. Thank you for your blogs- this "conversation" is one of my favorite parts of my day as well as learning so many new ideas.