Sunday, February 8, 2015

Where Can You Find a Reading Yoda?

This past week was a whirlwind of learning!  The district I work for hosted it's 23rd Annual Continuous Improvement Conference.  It's two days of learning from outside presenters and consultants; we also provide our own staff with the opportunity to share their learning with everyone that attends through choice sessions.  It's a great way to learn from one another and see what's happening on other campuses.  We even have a conference hashtag (#LISDCIC) that connects everyone to what everyone else is learning.

My two days of learning were spent with Donalyn Miller, who's also known as "The Book Whisperer". She shared many insights over the 2 days but the thing that resonated with me most was the influence teachers can have on their students.  This really isn't a new concept to me; as a librarian, I know and have witnessed the influence I have had with students when they come to the library.  But I've also noticed that not all teachers harness the influence they have with students when it comes to talking about their book recommendations, books that influenced them as students, or even shared times when they didn't particularly like a book.  It's entirely possible that teachers just haven't thought of doing this! 

Teachers today have many daily tasks and demands so reading opportunities and recommendations could easily be pushed aside. Teachers need to remember that they are the "Lead Reader" in their classroom and should leverage every opportunity to share their love of reading whenever possible with their students.  Doing this not only promotes literacy but also builds relationships, a key component in building a reading community.

But what if a teacher is unsure about where to start?  This is where your campus librarian fits in. Donalyn recommended partnering with campus librarians to get reading lists, genre recommendations, series information and so much more.  Librarians have a deep knowledge base about books and teachers and students often forget that librarians can be a resource, a "reading Yoda" of sorts.  We are VERY willing to share our book knowledge and have conversations about great books to read anytime.  Our goal is increase everyone's knowledge base about the many books available and ultimately build each person's reading compacity to become "reading Yoda's" for each other.

This was only one take-away; there were many additional ideas.  If you've not read her book, please consider adding "The Book Whisperer" and "Reading in the Wild" on your "to-read" list; you will not be disappointed!  I'd love to hear what other professionals do as the "Lead Reader" in their classroom-please share in the comments so we can all continue to learn from one another.

PS-Those were the first two days of my week; the rest of the week was spent at TCEA.  I'll be posting that learning later this week!

PSS- I'm currently reading "The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction" and "El Deafo" which was recently awarded The Newbery Honor at the ALA Youth Media Awards.

Striving to share my literacy passion,
-Becky