Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reflections on Chapter 5 and Beyond of Reading in the Wild, #cyberPD

Preferences are something 6th graders are familiar with.

They love it.

They hate it.

They love and hate it at the same time. --SIGH--

Sometimes is seems there is no gray area with my precious 11 and 12 year olds. They live in a world of polarization. It can be an endearing quality about middle level students, but also a frustrating one.

As I read this chapter, I reflected on my experiences with students the last few years. Sometimes it seems that by 6th grade, they've tried it all. At least they think they have! Often my eager recommendations in the library are brushed off because, "They don't like those kinds of books." I dig for more, only to find that, in their mind anyway, they've tried it all. The door to reading is closed, because they've tried all the kinds of books possible and it "just hasn't worked." The spark hasn't been lit. The library doesn't hold anything for them. End of game.

Or not...

This chapter gave me some new weapons to fight that mindset that seems to infect middle schools, as well as some other wonderful ideas:

1. Don't be biased towards books that aren't my own preference (pg. 167). I don't have to love it to let them love it.

2. Discuss preferences as a class; foster a community that is okay with diversity of preference among peers.

3. Rereading is more than just okay-- it can be beneficial beyond words (pg. 175)! "Absorbing a treasured story into their skin" sounds like a beautiful idea to me.

4. Graphic Novels and English Language Learners together equals major learning (pg. 173). Of course! What a great solution! I need to brush up on this genre BIG TIME!

5. The ideas for including nonfiction everyday and exposing students more are priceless (pg. 180). Book talks, read-alouds, mentor texts, and previews-- wonderful ideas for making nonfiction come alive.

6. Evernote for conferrring is going to change how I teach. I've already set up my account, and I'm ready to go (pg. 183). After searching for years for a system that works for me, be it digital or paper, I think this is going to work!

7. The forty-book requirement just might make an appearance in my room this year (pg. 192).

Reading in the Wild cyberPD has been a breath of fresh air to me. I haven't been on time with all my blogs and comments (Life. -sigh- ), but I'll be back next year FOR SURE. Preparing for a new school year is one of my favorite parts of this job. CyberPD has been a large part of that prep this year. Reading, commenting, and blogging have pushed me beyond just skimming a text--I've really absorbed this one, and I have the author, hosts, and participants to thank for that experience.

Forgive me if I am commenting on your blogs for weeks to come as I catch up on my PD and prepare for a quickly approaching school year simultaneously. It has been a true pleasure to interact and connect with such amazing and inspiring like-minded educators while reading this fabulous book!

Thank you for welcoming this newbie with such open arms. See you next year, CyberPDers!


  1. Love your idea for including more graphic novels! When I'm teaching college-level children's and adolescent lit courses, I start many of the students who claim to hate reading with graphic novels, and before you know it, they're hooked. I bought graphic novels for my high school classroom library but didn't read the genre myself at that time. Wish I had! Now I'm a passionate reader of graphic novels as well. I need a better conference record-keeping system too, so I'm going to check out Evernote. Thanks!