Earlier this semester, we met with a group of wonderful middle school teachers who were interested in building their capacity for conferring with students during their reading workshop time. To get the day started, we practiced some informal reader-to- reader conversations focusing on the question, “How’s your reading going?” as a way to model how simple it can be to start the conferring process. This led into our opening activity, a Compass Point (a routine best used for decision making and planning), where we discussed our current stance on conferring, what we were excited and worried about, along with what we needed to know more about, to set the stage for the day. We came back to these initial thoughts later in the day to see how our thinking and ideas had changed through our learning.
Last week, during a professional learning session with a group of middle school teachers, we provided copies of the inspiring resource Passionate Readers by Pernille Ripp. As we read the section “Teacher as a Reading Role Model,” one question that made us stop and think was, “What are your own book gaps? What do you not read?” We circled around that question for quite a while, pondering how our own reading preferences may inadvertently cause us to be gate-keepers when building classroom libraries, recommending books, and presenting book talks. We realized we all have preferences and gaps and if we don’t recognize and address them, we are unintentionally narrowing the impact we have on readers and by missing opportunities of getting the right book into the hands of a student because we are missing entire genres.
Pernille Ripp believes, and we agree, that if we don’t acknowledge our own book gaps, we become more of a genre lover than a book lover. This is okay in our own reading lives but not as a teacher of readers.
As a team, we identified our own reading gaps and tried to address them:
Jill: I naturally gravitate toward realistic fiction and historical fiction. I love to read books, both (more…)