This book has forced me to rethink how I teach reading. I’ve been testing out some of the authors’ suggestions this week and it has been tough. The authors give reasons why teachers should NOT do some standard practices to engage readers, such as front-loading the vocabulary, previewing the text, and making predictions. I am always interested in challenging myself and my students so I jumped right in and it has been about as easy as giving up chocolate. When you’ve done something for years and years it requires a lot of focus to not do the practiced and perfected method… default is like a magnet that draws one in, almost effortlessly.
The authors focus on making meaning of narrative texts. They have rethought standard practices of previewing and predicting. Instead, they jump into the text and let the students make meaning as they go, little by little. I’ve been doing what they suggested with my class read-aloud, The Tiger Rising. The authors encourage making students’ thinking visible so on a chart that’s divided into two columns, What We Know/What We Wonder, we have inched our way through the first few chapters this week. My kids were great on the noticing side but the wonder side was slim pickings. One student even remarked, “We don’t do too much wondering, do we?” This book has given me and my class a thought-provoking challenge that has somewhat distracted them from the testing mania surrounds us.
Book quotes: “…meaning making is, ultimately, a complex and personal journey between a reader and a book.”
“In books, ideas are invisible but patterns are visible.”
“Answers are closed rooms; and questions are open windows that invite us in.”
Our growth lies in the questions we ask. What questions have you asked lately?