Secondary Reading League
Leaders for Literacy in Grades 6-12
Who's your literacy hero?
Somehow, a copy of In the Middle by Nancie Atwell landed in my hands. I have no idea how I learned about it or where I bought it, but I remember reading it for the first time. Nancie's stories of how giving her students choices and honoring their voices changed her teaching opened my eyes to a whole new way of approaching my classes. I became intrigued by this idea of a writing workshop... could I do that in my classes? Could I stop assigning writing and begin teaching the writers sitting in front of me? Could I give up certain elements of control and turn the classroom over to my students? I wish I could say that I jumped right in with both feet and went full on writing workshop for the rest of that year, but I can't. What I did do, though, was start slowly... figuring out where I could build choice in to my writing curriculum.
It took a good 12 years or so and a change of schools, but eventually I got there. I figured out how to make the reading/writing workshop work for my students. I made several stops and starts, and I had to figure out that I could not BE Nancie. I had to make the workshop work for my students and me. I learned the importance of teaching the writers, not the writing, to honor student voices, and allow them choices in as many ways as I can. The growth I see in my students each year blows me away. I know I'm sending them on, not only with a firm foundation as readers and writers, but as people who have found purpose and joy in reading and writing.
Mindi Rench, SRL President
Twitter is not a Technology
"Twitter is not a technology. It's a conversation. And it's happening with or without you."
At our 40th Day of Reading on November 11th and 12th, the air in the Tinley Park Convention Center was filled with learning and excitement, as it always is at this wonderful event. But this year there was something else in the air! It was the wonderful world of Twitter and the hundreds of Tweets about incredible presenters.
As a council, the Secondary Reading League has been a little slow in getting into the world of technology. Those days are over! With more than 300 new Twitter followers and even more followers on Facebook, SRL is now fully immersed in the technologies of the day.
Below is a taste of the Tweets from the conference using the hashtag #DOR16.
Carolyn Tomecek Retweeted Secondary Reading
Grading does not make students better. Volume (of writing) makes students better. #DOR16
Let’s keep the conversation about literacy alive! Please follow us on Twitter @SecondaryRead and LIKE our Facebook page at Secondary Reading League.
Mark Levine, President Elect
Book Review: The Big Book Of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers To Elaborate by Rozlyn Linder
This book breaks details down into five different categories, explains the reasons writers use this kind of support, gives mentor text examples from young adult literature, and offers lesson suggestions. As I paged through, I realized that we had been trying to teach elaboration in a general way. We hadn't looked at the specific purpose of the writing in order to match the specific kind of details to the writing our students were doing. It was one of those "duh!" moments for me as a teacher and coach.
The Big Book of Details is an amazing resource for anyone who teaches writing; I used the lessons with my sixth grade striving writers, but it could also be used with high school writers as well. The strength of this book is its simplicity: you can find specific lessons to meet the needs of your unique students and get practical, tested strategies that you can use as is or adjust as needed.
Want to know more? You can see a sample chapter and a video of Rozlyn Linder talking about the book by visiting the Heinemann website here.
Want to win a copy of The Big Book of Details?
Need ideas? Consider writing:
- a short article about your literacy hero
- a review of a young adult book
- a review of a professional book
- a description of something that's worked in your classroom
We'd love to hear from you!