Friday, June 20, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Chapter 1

I know, two posts in one day.  I'm sorry.  I just had to link up with Ideas by Jivey's book study of Reading in the Wild.

I just finished reading the first chapter, "Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read", and had to respond.  It felt like coming home.  Our school has gotten so far away from giving students the chance to read independently and it's made my heart sad.  Readers' workshop has gone by the wayside.  Guided/leveled reading groups, reading intervention pull-outs and push-ins, and fidelity to the curriculum, while all have their place, have  pushed that sacred time right out the door.  It's gotten to the point where most teachers feel guilty if admin walks in to find kids reading silently at desks, under desks, stretched out on the carpet or snuggled into a comfy little nook.  Imagine that.  Having to feel guilty when you have 34 kids fully immersed in a book of their choosing?  What a horrible reading for the sheer joy of reading!

I will admit, that over the years, it has been difficult not to succumb to the pressure.  In Room 24, we still have Fall in Love with Your Book Time for 20 minutes when we return from the library.  After FILWYBT is over, students are invited to give a quick book talk to share first impressions of their new reading material. My students know to always have the book they are currently smitten with on their desks for when their other assignments are complete and we sponge up any extra minutes between preps, lunch, and recess by opening up those same books. They know that this is our covert independent reading time.  Each and EVERY day, I use the last 10-15 minutes for a read aloud.  Shhhhh!

This coming year, we're jumping into common core and new curriculum with both feet.  I'm not sure how it will all work, but I'm determined to find time each day to dedicate to the type of reading Miller describes in Chapter 1.

"When students read together every day, they forge strong bonds though shared reading experiences that help them define themselves as members of a reading tribe."  I love this!  I want to do whatever I can to help my students become a tribe of wild readers this coming year.

Like others who have already responded to Chapter 1, I love the idea of having a book on hand at all times for 'reading emergencies'.  I usually carry my iPad mini with me for just such occasions.  On our recent camping trip, I was chastised a bit for bringing a piece of technology into the wild.  I quickly pointed out that it was my 'book' and not an iPad mini at all.  Having finished my current book half way through the trip, I was more than a bit upset when I realized I hadn't downloaded the next book on my list!  With no internet connection, I was in a true reading emergency! You can bet I'll be more prepared next time.


  1. I love the idea of book talks after your Fall In Love With Your Book Time! I need to do something like that so book talks are a part of my regular schedule. If I don't do that, I end up forgetting.

    Forever in Fifth Grade

    1. Stephanie, once it becomes part of your routine, the kids WON'T let you forget. ;o)

  2. I think it is so sad that we have to hide our read-alouds and sneak independent reading into our day. This was always something I loved about school. I even had a student tell me that the sign of a good teacher was one who was willing to read-aloud to the class even if the principal says no. I think we need to stand up and declare that this is what our students need.

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

    1. I agree Misty. Years ago, I had a principal who basically banned independent reading time. She felt it was a waste of instructional minutes and that it was something better done at home. Of course, we'd all like to think that our students RACE home to read, but you and I know differently. I've always been one of those 'ask for forgiveness rather than permission' kind of teachers, so independent reading and read aloud time will continue in Room 24!

  3. I love, love, love that you call independent reading time, Fall In Love With Your Book Time! Such a fun way to show students how important reading is to you. I, too, sneak in my read-aloud - after lunch and before recess there is a spare 8 minutes I claim. ;) Ohgoodness...maybe one day we won't have to sneak!