Margin Notes

Increasing the Volume of Reading in the ELA Classroom PL


Recently, we met with an inspiring group of high school teachers to learn together about ways to increase the volume of reading in ELA classrooms.  We started the day in one of our favourite ways with a read aloud from a picture book and a quick write.  To make our learning visible, we then responded to the Compass Points questions and discussed/read some current research regarding the importance of reading in the high school classroom.

Next, we delved into some professional reading on increasing the volume of reading and reflected on our own reading identities and practices.  We explored the resource, “Teaching Reading With YA Literature” by Jennifer Buehler and pushed our thinking around three main ideas: Classrooms That Cultivate A Reading Community, Teachers As Expert Match Makers and, Reading Tasks That Foster Complexity, Agency and Autonomy. Following that, we looked deeper into conferring with individuals and groups through discussions and watching videos.  We also looked into the classroom conditions that were necessary to support reading and talking about reading with students.  We ended with reading like a writer by co-constructing criteria after delving into real-world mentor texts then coming back to our compass points activity to show the learning that had occurred throughout the day.  We celebrated our learning by giving each teacher a stack of brand new novels to share with their students and to add to their classroom libraries.


Book Relays


Why Relays?

In Teaching Reading Using YA Literature, Jennifer Buehler uses the expression “teacher as matchmaker” to describe the work we do to connect students with books. She says, “If we as teachers truly want to support teens as readers, we must develop broad, deep, personalized book knowledge.  As we build this knowledge, it makes sense to invest a good portion of our effort in building knowledge of young adult literature.”  In other words, if we want to match kids to books, we need to know the books they will want to read.

We’ve previously written about recognizing and addressing our reading gaps and the necessity of reading well outside of our personal comfort zone.  This helps us to have conversations about books with all the students in our classroom and make recommendations to them based on their individual interests and needs as readers.

How it Works

I puzzled over how to give the middle level teachers I work with the opportunity to sample a (more…)