I was on my way to work today thinking about this book I am reading (Conferring With Readers by Jennifer Serravallo) and a poetry class (Teacher Poets with Chris Lehman) I am currently taking. There is a simple structure when talking to kids, conferring with them, pushing them to the next step of learning. It's simple in my poetry class too as we workshop poems: Compliments, Questions, Considerations make up the structure of our conversation. I think I complicate things too much. It's just not easy squeezing all these parts into a 3-5 minute meeting with a student and then expecting that learning to take place after I leave. I looked around today and wondered if I am doing it right. That's not an invitation for you all to throw compliments my way, I mean I really wondered.
I looked around and I saw progress but not the kind of progress that the district, state, heck the nation expects. I looked around and everyone was reading, everyone. We are all in different places. Some are tearing through a chapter book a day, it's crazy how much fun they are having getting sucked into the story. I have other kids starting Mouse Tales and Frog and Toad. They are so excited. I have students setting goals like: How many Mo Willems books can be read in one day? I also have some students who are still looking at picture books and engaging in shared reading in order to work on comprehension strategies because they are unable to process all the skills needed for reading accurately. (To clarify, they read very simple text that doesn't really have enough going on to make meaning). When I really think about it, I believe it is okay. Don't get me wrong, I want them to succeed, but I don't think that you have to read a level J in first grade to be successful in life either. Some of them will get it in second grade or third. However, the problem is that these teachers have added pressure as well and when kids come in "behind" it is stressful for everyone. How did we end up here? I don't know.
What do I know?
Conversation about books.
I saw this video yesterday on Facebook and I can't help but agree with every word.