I have just come across this wonderful blog post by Nancy Ehrlich on her blog Nancy Teaches. She reflected on how she used to do book projects. Interesting to see how these monthly reading projects required a lot of work on her part (choosing the genre, and book possibly, working out the learning outcomes and setting assignments). A lot of the reading comprehension tasks asking for creative responses in glue and glitter.
Nancy, you have opened my eyes to something else I should be aware of this year: how I work on my reading in class. Teaching 7 year-olds (Grade 3) will mean my students are a lot younger than my previous classes.
I’m glad I already know that my school does not believe in reading programs. When I started teaching at an international school, the reading programs in place were obligatory in my first year. Oxford Reading Tree, followed by a New Zealand series Sunshine Books. Children had to take those books out for a week, and got to choose a library book. So, there was some choice, but I never got quite into it.
After all, at my previous school reading was by choice!
In my second year of international teaching, the reading levels in my class were so diverse, I decided to make everyone a “free reader”. The books were now there choice! And my class was a class of avid readers last year. Not only that, they started to bring in books from home, swapping them between each other and reporting back on what is worth reading, and what isn’t. Those un-assessed reading activities were easy to observe, but even the assessed reading (by choice) was amazing!
However, I do need to work on assessing reading comprehension more. And Nancy’s ideas are just eye-opening. I want to have a classroom of choice, where students take responsibility for their own learning and can explore various areas to express themselves. Without the dread!
Thanks Nancy! Another example of how your PLN keeps you on your feet!
Photo credit: Book-Color Histogram by Patrick Gage. Creative Common licence.