Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 3 of #Cyber Pd: Reading in the Wild

 I am excited to join the numerous bloggers that are wildly reading, Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits.  All of these reflective participants' thinking and wonderings are collected by Michelle at Literacy Learning Zone.




"I hate nonfiction, Mrs. Miller. It's so boring.  It's all about dead presidents and whales, she said." (page 178)


While reading the story Donalyn shares about Ashley, a girl that reads four to five books a week and is open-minded to reading almost anything, I realized that this is a powerful entree into dialogue about a current issue that is causing many teachers to rethink our basic assumptions about non-fiction in the classroom and for readers.

To increase students' nonfiction reading skills, access, and motivation for reading, Donalyn nudges us to consider several activities for non-fiction texts in our classroom. (page 180) One activity she suggests has been on the discussion board in our district and while teachers are planning...Pair fiction text with nonfiction on related topics.

After reading a book like this, I always need to ground my thinking in something I am currently thinking about so the big ideas do not get lost in the noise.  This activity pairs nicely with Anchor 9.  In anchor 9 of the Common Core, students are being pushed to analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.  The big questions that I have found myself reflecting on:

When you pair the two text, what is your purpose?

Are you bringing these two texts together to build background knowledge or are you providing an opportunity to compare approaches by building meaning off of two texts?

I know the goal is not to master a text.  The goal is to use strategies, conversation, and writing to justify/analyze/synthesize at a higher level and to use the text as the common ground of that thinking.  I am not selecting paired text for convenience.  I need them to be paired together to strengthen and develop meaning because no text provides meaning alone.  They are meaningful in connection to another.


Look at this standard closely by grade level.  



Literature
Informational
K
Compare-contrast adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories
With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

1

Compare-contrast adventures and experiences of characters

Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

2

Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.


Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
3
Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series)

Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
4
Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
5
Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

A conferring point that would stem nicely from my new thinking: Do I give students time to "act on their curiosity" when reading a paired text?  Do I  allow them time to divert from their next stack and either immerse in the topic or research for answers?  I need to take time to promote this text set as an extending inquiry opportunity because "through wide nonfiction reading, students build background knowledge content knowledge, increase confidence, and discover authors and topics that feed further reading and independent investigations." (page 182)

I have some examples of text sets in previous posts:

Text set...built around wonder
Text sets...built around character

7 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I love the idea of focusing on the intentional creation of text sets with a mix of fiction and nonfiction to support the topic as well as to construct meaning. This is definitely something I want to do more with this year - thanks for giving a few examples to get me started too!

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  2. Thanks for the links! I will check them out.
    I tried to increase using think alouds in the informational text genre this year, but would love to see more of them being used in independent reading. I think there are some great ones being published, it's just a matter of getting your hands on them. I know our school library is slowly getting some of the newer books, but it does take awhile!

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  3. A few years ago, some of my pre-service teachers created text sets on topics of their choice to integrate fiction and non-fiction. I also asked them to find non-traditional media to include. Here are some of their links:

    Math - http://everydaymathinbooks.blogspot.com/
    Bullying - http://kaciesquirks.blogspot.com/
    Unique Individualities - http://lyndzomarie.blogspot.com/

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  4. Tracy,
    Thanks for joining in the #cyberPD conversation! I'm always amazed when someone can zero in on one are of the text and really dig deep! And you have done just that with paired reading! Thank you for sharing your thinking ...

    The questions you pose about pairing text are important. It's not for convenience or "Oh, look, I found two books about ..." There needs to be a deeper meaning behind the pairing and you explained that so well! "I need them to be paired together to strengthen and develop meaning because no text provides meaning alone. They are meaningful in connection to another."

    I also think (for many of us) that grounding your thoughts in the CCSS provides a solid connection of the importance of paired text while incorporating more NF reading in our classrooms. I appreciate the text set samples as well!

    I look forward to how all these new wild reading ideas shape our classrooms in the fall!
    Michelle

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  5. Super smart thinking and I am finding the looking at the standards vertically really helps me with my organizing my thinking.

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  6. Tracy,
    I had a reader several years ago that forced me to pair books. He was a nonfiction reader and only a nonfiction reader. The difference between his fiction and nonfiction assessments was significant. I started making paired bags for him that contained fiction and nonfiction. I really should do more of this. Your post is a smart reminder of the power of pairing. I'm thinking it would be fun to have students pair books. It might help them to build bridges between fiction and informational text.

    Loved your chart. Very helpful to see standards at a glance.

    Cathy

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  7. Back again to reread your post. Love how comments continue to help us grow.

    Cathy, I love this idea: "Your post is a smart reminder of the power of pairing. I'm thinking it would be fun to have students pair books. It might help them to build bridges between fiction and informational text." Totally borrowing this idea.

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