Today I sat down and read a picture book with the kids. It was the brilliant “What Do You Do With An Idea?” and it was fun talking about what we were taking from the text and wondering why there was an egg with a crown and chicken feet and how that could possibly represent an “idea”. We went on from that to introduce Genius Hour but that is a post for another day.
Thursday September 8th is International Literacy Day so I wanted to take a few minutes to share my general thoughts on reading and literacy.
We started our Class Read Aloud with the highest votes going to my favourite book and now 6G classic “The Graveyard Book”. Not only is this story at times a nail biter it is also rich in imagery, opportunities to ask questions, make predictions, visualize…you name it. It is scary at times which I think is what catches the kids right on the first page as the the man Jack creeps through his victims home to finish the job not knowing his final victim an 18 month old has found refuge with the ghosts of the graveyard across the street. Nobody Owens as he soon becomes known is a fantastic character that is surprisingly relatable for being raised in a graveyard with a Vampire as his guardian.
There is nothing better than walking into a classroom with readers deep in their books or writers putting their thoughts and ideas to paper. This year will be a test for me in letting go of the reigns, giving more freedom and choice and in turn more motivation and passion to pursue the books they want, the ideas they want to put to paper. We will be doing all these thing but we still have work to do. Refine the tools we need for reading with not just a readers eye but a thinkers. Why did the character make that choice? What message does the author want us to take from this story? These questions are rarely explicitly stated so when meaning is lost in our reading what do we do? An increase in reading time is great but without the proper tools a struggling reader will not likely reach their potential. Think about if you are lost in the woods with no understanding of the map, you can read it over and over but if it makes no sense you are only guessing. You need tools to learn and some of those tools are our fix up strategies.
This year we plan to focus on 7 Fix Ups
- Ask Questions and Infer
- Make Predictions
- Recognize Connections: Self-Texts-World
- Retell and Summarize
- Reflect in Writing
- STOP and Think
We will be investigating each of these fix ups in the next few weeks and revisiting them constantly over the year.
My goal for this year in literacy is beyond levels on an assessment, I want my students to love reading as much as I do, to find their own Graveyard Books that they read over and over again and one day can share with others and inspire them to read as well.