My Other Blogs:

Other Corners to Find Me:

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Shaping a Reader

When I was a little girl I had a nightstand next to my bed. Inside was a box I had saved. The box had once had a mug in it from my favorite movie, Annie. My obsession as a young child was rocks. And this box was full of them. Most of which had come from my driveway. You could often find me bent down, scouring the ground, looking for something spectacular. I think, at the time, it felt like a treasure hunt. 
My rocks were precious. I would often sort them, wash them, sometimes paint them with some clear nail polish. I loved my rocks. I loved learning about my rocks too. My favorite book was all about rocks and minerals. 
This book was in my hands more often than anything else around the age of six. I would look over it trying to find my rocks in the pages. I couldn't read and understand this whole book. However, I was reading it, the way a six-year-old reads a book they don't fully understand. 

Reading this book did not stunt my reading development. I was eager and motivated to learn, therefore I picked up this book over and over again. During this same time in my life, I was learning to read from a Basal reader, memorizing passages for stickers, and reading sentences from the blackboard. We had a lot of books in my home. My parents read to me every night. I ultimately learned to read with the help of teachers and my parents. Not everyone learns to read in this way. I know this because I have been able to share in the joy of many children as they learn to read. There are certainly things that help all children. Access to books is a primary circumstance of reading enthusiasm and achievement. Understanding sounds and manipulating them, hearing them, and recognizing the symbols they represent in written language is a large part of decoding text. Rich conversations, listening to a lot of reading, and drawing inferences from illustrations builds vocabulary development and understanding. Reading cannot be distilled down to a few steps, strategies, and skills. When you ask readers how they learned to read, their answers are mixed. Many probably don't know. Some respond immediately with the challenges they faced. All of these bits and pieces of a readers' story are what shape their relationship with reading. 

I came across my favorite book today when I was once again re-organizing my office/writing/remote classroom space. It paralleled the many conversations I've seen on Twitter and Facebook referring to reading, readers, and what they need. Or, what they don't need. It made me consider my own reading story. I wonder what all those who are writing about other people and their reading research would say about their own reading lives? My book about rocks and minerals helped shape my reading experiences. What shaped your relationship with reading?

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Backyard Observations

Have you ever watched a squirrel? Their agility is quite astounding. It's not by accident, of course. They are made to jump, balance, scurry, and climb. 

Still, when I watch a squirrel trapeze through a leafless tree, it's pretty wonderous. I can't help think, how do they do that?

Today I sat quietly on the step just outside of my sliding glass door. Cassie was frolicking around, looking at me out of the corner of her eye, just in case I decided to throw a ball. I didn't. I just sat as my skin began to chill through my robe. 

My eyes were drawn to the closest tree. A rapid sound thudded from the top. Each tap short and low. I thought, not hollow enough, probably no ants that high. Still, the downy woodpecker persisted, hopping higher and higher. She must have been onto something, but I couldn't tell. My perspective was pretty limited, being so low to the ground. 

I continued to sit, Cassie continued to prance, and the woodpecker continued her beats. It was like we were all in a dance together. There was a wooshing sound from the running of the squirrels, and their feet clattered limb to limb. The bird's beats were continuous yet low and ominous. Cassie happily the soloist trotting about the back yard and I was there watching it all. A spontaneous performance with a gray backdrop and quiet simplicity. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Appreciate the Smiles

This year I don’t see my students in person very often, but I do see them shine in their videos and photo assignments. 
Today was a half day of school so I was able to use some time to catch up on going through Seesaw assignments. I had been saving some pattern book submissions since I knew they would take me longer to go through. I was so glad I saved them.  I was really able to savor their joy. So much happiness and pride came through. I watched them read their multi-page books like pros. 
It still blows my mind I’m teaching kindergarten this year. It’s been a reminder to me how much I appreciate young learners. They give so much joy through the process. It’s lovely to witness.