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Growth Mindset

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By Clare Landrigan & Tammy Mulligan

Lately we have been thinking about Three Ways to Read a Book and growth mindset. A mindset is a set of beliefs or a way of thinking that determines one's behavior, outlook, and mental attitude. People with a growth mindset believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment (Dweck, 2007). Now how does this connect with the three ways to read?

Let's rewind back to September in a kindergarten classroom. It was the first day of reading workshop and we were introducing Read to Self. Suddenly a chorus of children exclaimed, "I can't read!" It was a perfect opportunity to shift their mindsets. We couldn't let them continue with their belief that they couldn't read. Instead, we listened to and acknowledged then, and let them in on a big secret…They could read!

When these kindergarten students heard about the three ways to read, their eyes popped open, their shoulders relaxed, and smiles crept across their faces. They looked around and nodded in agreement— we can read!

This scene has played out again and again for us in all kinds of classrooms. Students are immediately empowered when they hear about the three ways to read. Their mindset shifts, they view themselves as readers, and then they behave as such. Once they see themselves as readers we can begin to teach them the strategies they need to grow as readers. We can teach them how to read the pictures, provide strategies for decoding words, and give instruction that shows how to integrate the pictures and words in order to understand the text more deeply. Each of the three ways to read provides opportunities to teach our students how to read accurately and comprehend fully. They are meant to work together so our students can be resilient when they encounter a reading difficulty. When we teach these three ways in a manner that is strategic and flexible, they truly reflect a growth mindset.

The three ways to read have become an integral part of many classrooms. Readers know they have options and they know that these options allow them to grow and develop as readers in any situation they may find themselves. Dweck's research has shown that a growth mindset can be intentionally taught to students.

On the surface, Three Ways to Read seems so simple, but as we watch it come to life in classrooms day after day, we realize that its effect is far more sophisticated and enduring than we initially thought. What began for us as an anchor chart has really become an enduring lesson on self-efficacy, grit, and resilience.

Learn more from Tammy and Clare at their website.

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