Rather than planning for my courses this summer like I usually do, I decided to read and reread some pedagogical books by some of my favourite teacher authors to “reframe” my teaching. I have been teaching now since 1998 and although I think I know myself pretty well and know what I what to accomplish in my classroom with my students, I also know that there are things that I have forgotten along the journey and so this blog will help me remember them…I hope 🙂
“Disrupting Thinking” by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst
I would say that almost any text Beers has written is my educational bible – I agree with most things she says and in my heart we are kindred spirits when it comes to kids and reading, so this new text by Beers and Probst got me pretty excited.
I have just finished Part 1 of the book about “The Readers We Want” and as usual the statements coming out of these 2 authors make my heart smile.
After reading about how we want our readers to be responsive, responsible and compassionate and all the reasons why they need to be those things and some pretty good tips on how to made our kids be those things I came across this quote on page 46 “As we learn to read our books, we might better learn to read the world”.
This entire part of the book was about how kids need to learn to read (decode of course) but then also how they need to learn to “read” (really engage with the book and not just search for answers and pull things out). That quote above says so much to me about how important it is to me that I help kids learn to:
decode and understand well
connect with the texts they find
use those texts to recognize and attempt to understand different perspectives/lives/worlds
because in doing these things – I am helping those kids learn so much more than just to “read”. This validates what I have been attempting to do (sometimes with more success than other times) in my classroom for as long as I can remember. I am not the teacher who teaches them how to use the comma correctly, or the different types of sentences – I am the teacher who encourages them to think about what they have read and why they read it, and why it made them think a certain thing, and why the author did what they did, and just why, why, why…
I have always been more drawn to fiction – in my own personal reading and as a teacher. I can easily relate to characters and find it easy to share fiction with kids. BUT I have been working on bringing more nonfiction into my teaching, as I know it is a place that I am weak. The final chunk of part 1 of the book was about nonfiction and this quote really hit home:
Page 49 “Nonfiction should not suggest nonfeeling. Nonfiction offers us the chance to learn not only about the world and the people in it, but about ourselves.”
This is how we can learn to read our world better.