Thursday, July 31, 2014

Readers Can't Be Choosers {Or can they?} // And $25 to TpT!!??

Y'all, it's confession time.  Ever since I read {who-in-the-world-knows-where} that most newspapers are written at a 5th grade reading level, I have dreamed of starting each day with reading newspapers in the classroom; discussing current events, eying the map to locate countries that are mentioned, and completing Sudoku {just had to google that because I never know if it's Sudoku or Soduko?!} or the crossword puzzle as a class.  Students would be working on their reading skills, acquiring background knowledge, and getting caught up on what's happening in the world!  Sigh... heavenly, right?  Unfortunately, as hard as I've tried, I've yet to be able to make this happen.  But as I was reading the final chapter, chapter 5, of Reading in the Wild, I realized that while this incredible-I-so-wish dream of mine seems superb, some readers aren't drawn to reading newspapers, and really they could care less if I make one available to them every day.

You know the student- the one who always seems to find something to do that has NOTHING to do with reading??   These students aren't bored, or incapable of reading, they just haven't yet found the right book.  Three years ago I was teaching 4th grade and had Reed in my class.  Reed had been home schooled since pre-school and while his Mom had done a wonderful job, Reed disliked reading.  For a while Reed poked around in the classroom library, chatted with friends, and flipped through picture books.  We met, I recommended books, he pretended to read them, we'd chat, he'd make up details about the book, I'd recommend more, and this went on and on.  Eventually I started to get really concerned because he was already below grade level.  I knew that in order to grow, he needed to READ!  And Reed was doing anything but reed-ing {haha sorry I couldn't help myself :)}!  Finally, one day his buddy Chris recommended the first book in the Magic Tree House series.  It was the same book I had recommended over and over and over again.  But when Chris recommended it, Reed took it and read it.  And seriously never.stopped.reading after that.  He devoured the series and then moved on to bigger and better books, looking to Chris for guidance. 

Chris was Reed's mentor, his coach.  But guess who was Chris' coach...  ME!  Chris was, and still very much is, a Wild Reader who is comfortable trying new books and willing to push himself as a reader.  But as teachers, our wild readers look to us for new books.  And these Wild Readers aren't satisfied with the book their neighbor is reading.  What I learned from Reed and Chris that year is that book conversation is a MUST.  And not just, "What are you reading Chris?"  But more in depth.  "What's your favorite quote?"  "Why do you like it?"  As elementary readers, students need to learn how to have these conversations.  And we have to have the conversation with them before they can have them with other students.  By chatting with Chris about his reading, he felt comfortable talking and recommending a book to Reed.  Chris will never know how he impacted Reed's life, but Reed is now a wild reader who cannot consume enough sport books or historical fiction books to satisfy his need to read!

Holding conversations can be tricky- especially with those students who are quiet anyways.  To support teachers, I have included a quick list of Questions to Ask Readers.  These questions are great conversation starters and can help even the most finicky reader open up!  So can Readers be choosers?  Yes.  Absolutely they can!  But they must choose something and they must always always always be willing to try!

Because it's that time of year and to celebrate the end :( of this great book club, I am hosting a giveaway!  You can win $25 to TpT!  Just enter below!!

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Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for a heart warming story about another sweet teacher out there in our blogisphere!  Thanks!


  1. What an inspiring story! You are right... I bet Chris will never know how he impacted Reed's life! Thank you so much for the question list filled with deep questions! I love the one "Did you learn anything about yourself while you were reading?"

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Deb! Isn't that a great question? I feel like I always learn something about myself when I read. Just this morning I found myself crying over one of my favorite books, that I'm rereading for the third time. I don't think it hit a nerve with me the last time I read it, but now that I'm a teacher I'm much more sensitive to certain subjects, especially when it means advocating for our kiddos, which is what I was reading about. Crazy how reading can do that to us! Have a great day!!

      Cheers! Kelly Anne :)

  2. Those are really great questions! I can't wait to print and put in my guided reading basket!


    1. Thanks Maria! I hope they can help you like they're helped me. I don't know about you, but sometimes my brain is fried from everything else and it makes such a difference when I have a list to get me going again!

      So glad you stopped by!

      XO, Kelly Anne