Howdy from Central Texas! This is Noelle guest blogging about the Scholastic Reading Summit because Melissa’s boss wouldn’t let her take off to go- so she sent ME! (PS- Melissa is Melissa’s boss!)
Last Thursday, I traveled to Houston to attend the Scholastic Reading Summit. If you weren’t lucky enough to attend, keep reading to learn, grow, and be inspired with the great ideas that were shared!
I started the day by checking in and received a goodie bag full of BOOKS! It wouldn’t be a Scholastic conference without free books, right? And what teacher doesn’t love another teacher bag? I was already hyperventilating with excitement and the conference hadn’t even started yet.
The front of the bag has a quote from Donalyn Miller: “I can learn anything, travel anywhere, ask my own questions, seek my own answers because I read.”
Here’s a peek at what was inside:
Not only did they give us children’s books of all levels, they also included pure GOLD in our bag! That’s right. Scholastic has put together the latest research on reading- A Summary of Research!
Every educator needs to get their hands on this resource. It is pure gold, I tell you!
The keynote speaker this year was the one and only, John Schu (@MrSchuReads) He started the day with ENERGY and inspiration for reading! He talked a lot about the need for school librarians. He said, “Every student deserves to have a FULL time librarian.” That couldn’t be more true!
Here are a few of my favorite quote that were shared:
One of my goals for the day was to get retweeted by Mr. Schu and guess what? I was retweeted within the first hour!
If you are not on twitter for educational purposes, after reading this post you should create an account! Twitter can be a fantastic learning community. So many times educators will tweet as they are in the conference, and if you follow the right hashtags, it feels like you are sitting right there in the conference yourself! If you are already on twitter, are you following Melissa? She has great ideas that can inspire you and your students! Go follow her @LeachLiteracy.
After Mr. Schu, next up was Kylene Beers (@KyleneBeers) and Bob Probst (@BobProbst). I’ve been following Kylene for a while, but hearing her speak was truly inspiring.
She talked about how our readers need to be encouraged first. She said, “Skill and will go together. You cannot improve competence without first improving confidence.” That right there started blowing up Twitter!
During their talk, they introduced us to a way of engaging readers with text besides the basic recall questioning. Through their research in classrooms, they have created three questions to ask students while reading that works in any grade level. Through their research they found that students who were asked to read a text and then answer basic recall questions (think ten multiple choice questions for a quiz) could not even remember what the text was about the next day. These students were simply reading to answer a question….they weren’t reading to THINK!
Kylene and Bob suggest using these three questions instead to engage our readers with thinking:
What surprised you?
What did the author think I already knew?
What changed or confirmed what I already knew?
They have just published a new book called Disrupting Thinking.
After those keynotes, we split up into our breakout sessions.
I attended “Building a Love of Reading Campus Wide” with @TechNinjaTodd and @brandonkblom . Both are principals (in TEXAS) changing the way students and educators view reading.
Their session was incredible! These two educators are funny, inspiring, and truly have a passion for reading! I walked away with so many great ideas, way too many to share in a blogpost. So I will share my absolute favorites…
Advertise what we are reading: Create a poster that announces what educators (every single adult in the building is an educator) are currently reading. Laminate it so it is a quick update with dry erase markers. (Shout out to MAGNOLIA ISD- they are DOING this!)
Guest readers: Invite all kinds of community members to bring a book to read. Create a mystery Skype read aloud by turning off the camera but keeping the sound on. One teacher invites grandparents to Skype in and it drives the students wild to try to guess which grandparent is reading!
6 word book talks: Silently write a 6 word book talk for a favorite book. Next, have students share their 6 word book talk and have other students guess the title. Tech option to share via Padlet or Twitter.
Secret Society of Readers: Pass out ‘golden tickets’ (Willie Wonka style) to the avid readers in your school. You know the ones. They always have their nose in a book. So often we put all the attention on the struggling and reluctant readers, but in order to build a school-wide love of reading, we need to tap into the students who read any chance they can. Pass out the tickets. Tell the students to meet in the library at a certain time, to bring their current favorite book, and to tell no one! (Teachers are, of course, in on the secret and all the students need to do is use the code word to get out of class. Brilliant!) The first meeting can be held with flashlights under the tables of the library. During the meeting, we allow these readers to be readers! Encouraging them to talk about their books. A second golden ticket is given to students and their job throughout the next week is to be on the lookout for other readers to join the secret society! It will only take a few days for the buzz of reading to grow in your school! I am so excited to implement this at my school. Will you try it with me? (This is Melissa piping in- if I were in school I so would have wanted a GOLDEN TICKET!)
The afternoon session I attended was called “Independent Reading: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going” It was a panel chalked full of the best of the best in education!
The biggest takeaway from this panel would have to be the discussion of independent reading vs. reading in isolation.
Often we think those are the same thing, yet independent reading can and should be collaborative. (AMEN says Melissa) The only time our students should read in isolation might be on a test. The session closed with Donalyn Miller (@Donalynbooks) discussing testing. This left a lasting impression on me: “You don’t get a prized cow by weighing it every day.”
The conference came to a close with JJK (@StudioJJK) as the last keynote speaker. The New York Times Bestselling Author and Illustrator walked us through his writing process (so cool!), read aloud one of his published books (so entertaining!), and inspired us to accept all reading as reading in our classrooms (even graphic novels!).
To say I learned a lot is an understatement. I could go on and on about all of the inspiring ideas and latest research that was shared. But I will leave you to go sign up for Twitter (if you haven’t already) and to add those speakers to your follow list!
One last thought before I go:
Kids who read self-selected text rather than teacher-selected books read more and student selected reading is 2xs as powerful as teacher-selected reading in developing reading engagement and comprehension. (DROP THE MIC)