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Reading in the Wild

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Henry Du

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of Reading in the Wild

Teach students reading strategies for reading comprehension

Allow teachers to differentiate and meet the needs of individual students

Help foster a love of reading independently as well as with degrees of scaffolding.
Professional Topic:
Reading workshop

Demonstration/discussion of explicit connections made between the book and classroom teaching/learning

Reading in the Wild: the Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits offers many strategies for implementation in the reading classroom and narrative examples to inform instruction and support diverse learning. If used purposefully, this book is a promising resource for struggling readers in the classroom.

Connections with classroom teaching and learning:
The text is structured in a way that guides teachers through the logical steps of implementing reading instruction and practice in the classroom. In its essence, the text is composed of a teacher’s own experiences as a reading instructor, including the best strategies and suggestions informed through years as an expert practitioner and input from countless “wild readers”.
One of the strong ways in which the text is connected to the classroom is the powerful presence of student voice within each section. For every strategy, there were students to make the theory reality, with evidence built from narrative and student-produced artifacts.

Miller, as a classroom teacher, discusses how to go about constructing the time and space within the classroom to work in favor of the needs and resources of the teacher. She discusses the issue of time and workshop components and provides an example weekly schedule for reading focus. At least one-third of class-time is always spent reading.

An important consideration in the text is that of the classroom library. For students to become avid readers, creating access to appropriate and engaging texts for diverse students is integral to the success of a classroom reading community. For rich reading experiences in the classroom, Miller explains the importance of “curating a classroom library”. She writes that “students in classrooms with well-designed classroom libraries interact more with books, spend more time reading, demonstrate more positive attitudes toward reading, and exhibit higher levels of reading achievement” (p. 80). She describes the procedures for how to introduce students to the classroom library, how to check out and return books, how to take care of books, and how to organize the library.

Throughout the book, Miller offers descriptions of strategies for classroom implementation. Miller’s strategies help students see themselves as readers. Struggling readers are seen as readers just as anyone else. One way that this is supported in the classroom is through the identification of diverse reading preferences. Miller states that “if we value all readers, we must value all reading” (p. 171). In this section, she describes the value of promoting graphic novels in the classroom library and using them as lesson tools for increasing motivation and scaffolding skills such as comprehension strategies, determining of importance, mental imagery, fluency, plot, characterization, theme, illustrative support for English language learners, symbolic concepts, cross-curricular representations, and vocabulary.

An invaluable resource for classroom instruction is the appendices. These sections provide blank versions of classroom tools such as reader surveys, reading lists, planning charts, and record-keeping forms. Student and instructor-completed examples of these documents are included throughout the text. The appendices also include a list of students’ favorite titles and series’ by genre, and for as long as this text remains current, this is a valuable compilation for lesson planning, book recommendation, and the building of a classroom library.

In Reading Workshop
Students Get:

Time to choose books, read, think about their reading, and interact with others over what they have read.

Choice about the books they read

A sense of responsibility for their learning ad Accountability (Students compose a reading timetable and keep track of their own reading schedules)

A community of readers
By: Kanika Chopra, Malia Bernard & Han Du
Reading in the Wild
Practical Strategies: Read-Alouds
Practical Strategies:
Reading Habits Conference
The reading habits conference utilizes a reading habits conference chart. Teachers record notes from students’ independent reading conferences on this chart, transcribing observations and student comments into individual conference logs for each student. These records allow teachers to reflect and compare notes from current conferences with past observations. The reading habits conference chart shows both student progress and teacher evolution, revealing reflection and how the teacher views students, what information is sought about their reading lives, and what is valued as a classroom reading community. Student conferences can occur at various times depending on classroom routines. A productive time to confer with students is within an independent reading block. During this time, the teacher collects information (as unobtrusively as possible) by observing students as they read and analyzing the record-keeping tools that they are working with. Different classrooms will utilize different tools in conjunction with reading. Examples of effective record-keeping tools described in Reading in the Wild include genre requirements graphs, reading lists, and to-read lists. Reflections may come from daily conversations, classwork, independent reading observations, and student input.
When Selecting Read-Alouds, a teacher should:
Reading Habit Conference
Reading Habits Conference cont.
March 25, 2014
Presentation of reading
instruction through the
use of reading workshop
as suggested by

Key Components:
1. Creating an authentic investment in literature/text

2. Mini-Lessons conducted by teachers that teach skills/strategies for reading

3. Reading Time—allow students time to read, interact with books and their authors, and have time to think about their reading

4. Conferencing—developing relationships in which they can engage in natural conversations about their reading.

5. Keeping Track: Record-keeping is important in order to evaluate student progress and determine the direction of future conferences. Some methods of record keeping include: anecdotal records, teacher’s journal, checklists, status of the class.

6. Responding—Responses, oral and written, help students make sense of their reading, reflect on their reading, and monitor their comprehension. Some forms or response include: book talks, story frames, letter to author, story webs, literature discussions, readers’ theatre, reflections, journals, response logs, double entry diaries.

7. Sharing—sharing sessions are imperative to reader’s workshop because they validate the children’s work and the importance of their thoughts and constructs of meaning.
Engaging Struggling Readers
Anecdotal records
Observations of student
Critical Essays
Book Talks
Student Choice

Authentic topics/Critical Literacy

Activation of prior knowledge

Modeling "Read-Alouds"

Culture of literacy
Miller, D., & Kelley, S. (2014)
. Reading in the wild: the book whisperer's keys to cultivating lifelong reading habits
. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.
—Marilyn Jager Adams,
Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print

Teachers read aloud with students to highlight great writing and model reading strategies. Teachers may use read-alouds to spark rich discussion and develop student interest. To implement read-alouds, teachers should delegate specific time to reading. Donalyn Miller, author of Reading in the Wild: the Book Whisperer's Key to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits (2014), recommends setting aside ten to fifteen minutes at the end of class every day for reading aloud. These read-alouds should be purposeful; teachers should consider how each read-aloud fits into classroom instruction or community-building goals (p. 48). The procedure for implementing read-alouds requires purposefulness of text, consistency of reading, and timeliness; for this, a teacher may ask: Is the book too long to maintain engagement for all readers? Is it necessary to read-aloud the entire book, or can we meet objectives and develop interest with only an excerpt?
Read-alouds provide students with support in choosing their own books by increasing their title and author awareness, improving their background knowledge and experience, and fostering increased motivation and engagement with reading through positive reading experiences. No matter how old your students are, they benefit from frequent read-alouds.
—Donalyn Miller,
Reading in the Wild: the Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits

(Miller, 2014, p. 48-56)
When Implementing Read-Alouds, a teacher should
Read-Alouds Cont.
Read Aloud Cont.
• They build community –
Reading aloud with children offers moments for unifying moments of shared experiences and connections that last long after a book ends.

• They expose children to books, authors, or genres they might not discover on their own –
Choosing titles to read-aloud that lead students to more books they can read independently decreases the intimidation of self-selecting books and increases student confidence in finding something they will enjoy.

• They provide prime opportunities to introduce students to genres they often avoid, like poetry, biographies, and nonfiction –
Introducing diverse genres to students through read-alouds makes students more receptive to reading books from these genres.

• They support developing readers –
Reading aloud removes roadblocks to comprehension, supports oral reading development by providing students with a reading role model for fluent reading, expands reading experiences by reading books above independent reading levels, and creates natural opportunities for modeling and practicing comprehension strategies and reading response.

• They reinforce that reading is enjoyable –
Reading aloud reminds students that reading is a pleasurable activity to be enjoyed before becoming an academic chore and introduces students who lack positive reading experiences to reading for pleasure.

• Choose books from authors who will lead students to more books, such as touchstone authors and genres appropriate for each grade.

• Share a variety of texts, including nonfiction, poetry, and online articles so to expand student repertoire and model reading skills within diverse genres and mediums.

• Consider time constraints and book length, avoiding slow progress that will lead to eventual student frustration and loss of interest.

• Decide how students will view any illustrations within books during read-alouds, such as by gathering around the text or projecting the image on a screen.

• Read books that s/he enjoys so to share that excitement with students even after a tenth or twentieth read-through.

• Ditch the read-aloud if it doesn’t work (i.e. too-slow narrative pace, substantial background knowledge requirement, or difficult dialect), and discuss with students the reasons why the class is moving on.

• Invite students to share their favorite read-alouds, having all students think about books they know and may have enjoyed.

• When there is a guest teacher, leave a read-aloud different from the one s/he is already reading to the class; another teacher will not have the same background knowledge and shared experience with the class using that text as the main teacher.

• Participate in World Read Aloud Day on the first Wednesday of March by inviting guest readers to share books, arranging for students to read to younger children, or arranging a Skype visit between students and an author or another class.

• Invite students to select the next read-aloud based on student vote so to incorporate diversity, interest, and autonomy.

• Post a list of the texts that have been shared in a visible place where students can watch it grow throughout the year, reference it as an anchor chart, and connect it to new readings.

• Ask students to sign their favorite read-aloud selections from the year, having students leave their mark on the books as a legacy of the school year and engaged reading
• Reader –
In this column, include the name of each student and reading level to reference during conferences. To be intentional in how students are portrayed and communicated with, replace terms such as “student” and “name” with “reader” or “writer”. The term “reader” in conjunction with student names is a reminder that all students in the classroom are readers regardless of level.

• Preferences –
In this column, describe the reading preferences of each student, such as genre. This information can be determined by looking through students’ reading lists. Make note of diverse choices, lack of clear preferences, and possible influence the classroom reading community has on student choices. Include the book currently being read by each reader and whether or not this book is at, above, or below student reading levels; do this in order to consider trends in reading choices and give students informed book recommendations but never to intervene unless students fail to make progress.

• Engagement –
In this column, note how engaged students are during reading time, both at school and at home. In class, pay attention to the wandering, fidgeting, and pretend readers that stand out against engrossed readers, and during conference time, discuss at-home reading habits with students. Use this information to consider trends in students’ reading behaviors over time. Also record how many books students have completed. Accounting for book length, reading level, and genre, the implication of this number varies from student to student as only a single piece of a greater picture that represents reading accomplishments.

• Record Keeping –
Depending on the classroom routines, different record-keeping tools may be used by students to track their reading progress. In this column, note how students utilize these tools, including accuracy and completion. In order to assess independent reading habits, consider how well students participate in these activities and to what degree they record and reflect upon their reading lives. This allows for reflection and goal-setting. Many times, the most enthusiastic readers keep the poorest records while the most dependent readers keep the most immaculate records, so this is not a reflection on student ability but rather a tool to hold students accountable for recording their reading habits so that they (and you) may better understand themselves as readers and become actively engaged with the reading community.

• Commitment –
In this section, record whether or not the student abandons books after beginning them and whether or not s/he has a plan for future reading. Students should make note of the books that they abandon and the books that they finish. This information can be used to map trends for each student and the reading community. While abandoning a book that is not engaging is a positive indicator of self-awareness, students who abandon many books, one after another, or continue to read books that they do not enjoy or understand require additional reading advisory, short reading goals, and gentle pressure.

• Selection –
For this section, determine and record the method that the student primarily employs when choosing which books to read. Consider how students discover books and which of these methods work best for them. Based on this information, encourage students to use many resources for book discovery, such as the internet, libraries, and book store displays. Reinforce the importance of building relationships with other readers, within the classroom reading community and the larger reading community. If students choose books based on peer recommendation but do not enjoy the selections, counsel these students to take greater ownership of their book choices and reflect on why their previous choices did not suit their preferences and needs as a reader.

Conferring about their independent reading habits keeps my students and me focused on our long-term goals—internalizing wild reading behaviors and developing the self-reflection skills necessary to maintain lifelong reading. Through these conversations, I gain deeper understanding into my students’ reading lives and they build a greater appreciation for why reading matters to them.
—Donalyn Miller,
Reading in the Wild: the Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits

Donalyn Miller shares, experiences, strategies, and frustrations with her audience on the topic of getting students enthusiastic about reading. A large portion of the book is dedicated to "cultivating" a large classroom library to cover a wide array of student interest. In this way, students can access texts that they are interested in.The book explores five "habits of lifelong readers" in depth, visiting many aspects of reading workshop as well as how to implement these workshops in the classroom. With these "habits" in place, she hopes that students will obtain a love for reading that spans beyond reading in the classroom. With this goal in mind, Miller shares many of her own materials in hopes that educators will find success in their own classrooms.

Miller, D., & Kelley, S. (2014)
. Reading in the wild: the book whisperer's keys to cultivating lifelong reading habits
. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Uses real student examples
Utilizes research for many of her claims
Provides an immense amount of resources for the reader/educator
Provides educators with important reading strategies that are easy to understand and implement
Gives readers suggestions on implementation within the classroom (even going as far as to suggest strategies to creating a classroom library)

The author seems to struggle against changes being implemented (at the time) such as the common core
While it is great that she suggests creating a personal canon, she strays away from teaching students how to love the classical canon.
While it is important to set a reading schedule, some of what she writes seems to suggest "quantity over quality", potentially pushing against the deep analysis that only comes with time and practice.
There are some criticisms on some of the practices of current teachers that the reader may find abrasive.
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