Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Study! {Chapter 3: Reading Around the Literacy Block}

We're teachers, we all get it, we love to read.  I know we don't always have the time- but something about reading just speaks to our soles.  And reading chapter 3 of 100 Minutes did that to me.  I wish I could share this chapter with everyone... Mine is highlighted and noted-upon like whoa.  

So glad you could stop by for my reflection on Chapter 3!  Kelly over at An Apple for the Teacher is hosting the Book Study this week.  Be sure to stop by and see what she has to say!

As teachers, we read professional development books and envision our own learners in our minds.  Oh that's so Ashley.  We think.  Or Shoot, I wish I had read this my first year of teaching, Justin would have benefitted so much from ____.  It's good.  It means we're growing, right? 

As I read Chapter 3, I reflected on my own teaching.  Things that I know I do, never had a name.  Chapter 3 gives them a name!  They're now "creating a talking-to-learn community" and "maximizing comprehension through talk."  I felt like a student; knowing that I've been doing something all this time but not realizing it's true value until it clicks that "Hey! I do that!"

Chapter 3 dives in to the importance of different types of reading, such as Modeled Reading {read aloud}, Guided Reading, and Independent Reading.  Lisa Donahue shares, "by strategically using the various sections of the literacy block, it becomes possible to seamlessly integrate the gradual release of responsibility when introducing students to new reading comprehension strategies." (p42)  By manipulating these instruction periods, you can get more out of your students.

In this chapter, Lisa spends a decent amount of time reviewing the value of conversation.  I think this is what spoke to me the most during the chapter.  Lisa says, "Learning is a social process; intentionally orchestrated opportunities to talk allow students to extend their own thinking and the ideas of others." (p45) Talking through book clubs, read alouds, and daily assignments, allows students to feel valued and appreciated.  They see that their thinking is important and their place in the classroom is vital to the class' understanding.

"In order for talk to be truly beneficial, it needs to be focused and robust.  Students need time to talk about things that are relevant, engaging, challenging, and authentic." (p45) Here Lisa goes again... I love the way she weaves this into each chapter... students need purpose too.  They don't want to have a pointless conversation- a conversation just to talk.  They want to be treated as adults, where their thinking is important and they are solving real problems.  They want to be asked questions that interest them and will require them to dig a little deeper. 

And then, Lisa says THIS, "create a community where talking-to-learn is the norm" (p45).  Isn't that what I'm doing right now?  Typing my opionions and thoughts on this page so that I can learn more?

Just the other day, a teacher I work with was talking to a group of students.  They were stressed about a social issue.  She told them, "When you have a problem, it sits inside your head and gets bigger and bigger and bigger.  But when you take that problem and write it down, it gets smaller and smaller and smaller until *poof* you have an answer."  When students converse, that's what they're doing.  They're taking their thinking and making it smaller, easier to understand.  They're pinpointing and naming their thoughts.  Lisa shares some great strategies and examples for how to to get conversation out of students, and I urge you to check out the chapter so you can make it yours. 

Conversation through literacy is vital.  How many of you are already doing these things knowing they were good but never realizing their true value?  Providing students with the support necessary for them to become aware of their inner conversations while they read, will enable them to grow enormously in their independent reading.  (p42)  So go on out and talk- discuss- and think!

Joining the conversation?  Link up below!

Jen over at Teaching, Life, and Everything in Between will be sharing the next chapter!  Be sure to stop by her blog and check it out :)

There are a few guidelines that Lisa Donohue and her publisher have asked that people follow.
Please read through these carefully. 


  • Anything created for 100 MINUTES should be shared for free. 

  • Anything created and shared based on 100 MINUTES should include a disclosure statement  "Adapted from 100 MINUTES and not endorsed by Lisa Donohue." 

  • Please cite the complete publication information:  "100 MINUTES, (2012), Donohue Lisa, Pembroke Publishers" in order to make it easier for others to find the book.


  1. Kelly Anne,
    Amazing post...again. I especially loved "Just the other day, a teacher I work with was talking to a group of students. They were stressed about a social issue. She told them, "When you have a problem, it sits inside your head and gets bigger and bigger and bigger. But when you take that problem and write it down, it gets smaller and smaller and smaller until *poof* you have an answer." When students converse, that's what they're doing." Wow.
    Thanks again... and don't forget to link up your own post!
    Thinking of Teaching

  2. I found your blog this morning - and I haven't heard of this book. I just ordered on Amazon. Love your post - I'm now a follower! One of my main goals is to make all my kids avid readers by the end of the year. I'm never sure if I'm getting them to dig deep enough - we do a lot of talking (not as much writing about reading - goal is to do more of this) but can't wait to read the book!
    Are We There Yet?

    1. Janie, I am so excited to hear that you're joining us!! I look forward to hearing about your takeaway from the book. It's been so interesting for me!

      Thanks for stopping by!!

      XO, Kelly Anne