6 things to consider

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Missed another couple days, life gets busy but here is another #sol18

I am sitting at meetings today and we are discussing both literacy and supporting our striving learners. It is interesting to me where the conversations always tend to get held up.

“How much time will this take?”

We talked today about Richard Allington’s elements of reading instruction. The end product hopefully becoming a model that our school division can pass out to teachers, build PD opportunities around and promote stronger literacy practices in the classroom. I think this is a valuable practice and a worthy goal.

The problem I find comes up when we ask teachers to add anything to their day, surprisingly asking that there is reading going on in every class for some is too much.

I can’t help but wonder what it is people with this position value.

Do we value students developing a reading culture or just students that sit and are served information? I know where I stand. I value the conversations that come from my students independently reading and then checking in with me, not for some low-level question quizzes but some great “Why?” or “What do you think?” or as my friend’s very cool Irish dad says, “So what?” Just having students sponge my opinions and ideas will not help them be greater thinkers. It will only help them think like me.

Going forward I need to look at what I value most, then research and see what works best. If what I value is not the best practice (hardly possible 🙂 lol) I need to consider other ways to help my students develop as readers.

Considering Allington’s 6 

  1. Every child reading something they choose daily– This does not mean we are not instructing in the day it just means we give them time to read what they want.
  2. Every child reads accurately– This is an idea that at times seems lofty but making sure a student has access to a text they can read should not be a point of negotiation. If it is a money issue buy fewer programs. I am sure those arguing against libraries in classrooms don’t blink at the cost of AR, they should.
  3. Every child reads something they understand– I do not think this point is a difficult one to meet if we are engaged in conferring with our students. If a reader has difficulty understanding a text the first thing to do is find out why, independent reading time should not be void of teacher interaction, we should be supports ready to lift when needed. Kind of like when kids are learning to ride a bike. They might not understand balance at first but after a few crashes and some coaching, they do. The same can be said about reading comprehension.
  4. Every child reads and writes daily about something personally meaningful– But what about the time? No one is saying we should be spending all class but a quick chance to write about their day or their life, 10-15 minutes to read about what interests them. This won’t delay their test readiness but it will increase their capability.
  5. Every child talks with peers about reading and writing – There is power in peers talking about their thoughts, ideas and work together. Take advantage of it.
  6. Every child listens to a fluent adult read aloud– One of my favorite things to do. Reading a book I love, or the kids love, or better yet we all love. Just for the sake of modeling reading fluently. It occasionally is an opportunity to show that we make mistakes when reading as well and how we pay attention and self-correct.

I am pondering these 6 things and how not only I can use them to the maximum my student’s growth but also help my own practice.

6 things to consider.

5 thoughts on “6 things to consider

  1. I love those six elements that should be in every class, every day. Sadly, I don’t think that is true for many classes. The first step is to be aware of them, then plan what you need to do to make each happen in class.

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  2. You have a lot going on in this post. First, I like Allington’s elements of reading instruction. I don’t read the idea of reading accurately as an access issue. Not having been in on the meeting, and not knowing your colleagues, I’m not comfortable trying to second guess their motives or concerns. I do know from may years teaching that nearly all teachers feel overwhelmed by expectations and top-down mandates. It may be your colleagues see this as such. Again, I don’t know. All my English colleagues value choice reading, but we handle it differently in our classrooms. We also have 75 minute periods and a principal who loves to read and who has two professional book discussions w/ us each year. That’s something that has improved choice reading in our school.

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    1. Yeah I agree, my comment was more out of generalizations. I come from an elementary background and so the adjustment to seemingly less value on that reading time is hard to understand haha.

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  3. I love these 6 points. I really like this one – “Every child reads and writes daily about something personally meaningful.” This is about life long learning and setting practices for students to keep reading and writing in their personal life. So very important to develop clear thinkers – not followers. Thanks – a great post.

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  4. I too am using Allington’s research to build a literacy framework for our school based on what we value. Getting some to understand that there is no program out there that will make these things happen is incredibly difficult. Attended a PD last week about getting the research into classrooms and becoming “an expert in our beliefs”. This is what is inspiring me to keep doing the work I’m trying to do.

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