3-5 RLA Newsletter

February 12, 2016

Hi 3-5 RLA Team,

Happy three day weekend! We are getting pumped for our Guided Reading PD sessions on Wednesday, February 17th. We're excited to gather together again to continue to refine our guided reading processes for students. Look for an email from me on Tuesday with your final session assignment, materials you'll need for your session, and the location at WAES where your session will be held. This newsletter is full of suggestions connected to guided reading and engaging students in reading! Make sure to review everything below and let us know if you have any questions.

Have a great long weekend,

Tamlah and Krysten

Guided Reading Tip of the Week

Do you struggle with identifying texts to use in Guided Reading with your higher level readers? Consider accessing biographies or poetry. You should also practice the same skill over multiple genres. One example of this is practicing character, problem, and solution in fiction stories as well as nonfiction biographies.

Anchors Away February Challenge

We are looking for the Best Anchor Charts throughout the month of February. One teacher from each grade level will receive this illustrious honor and receive recognition at the March Network CPD! Are you the next Anchors Away winner? We will display your best anchor charts for all to see!

Squelching Shame in Reading Class

Check out the article below, which was pulled from last week's Marshall Memo. The article provides thoughts on how we embrace lower level readers and help eliminate the shame they might feel in class.

In this Literacy Today article, Justin Stygles, a sixth-grade teacher and literacy specialist in Maine, bemoans the fact that some students become ashamed of their inability to read well. “Unlike participation in sports,” says Stygles, “the choice to abandon reading to pursue other talents is not an option. Kids really have no escape from the struggles they face during the learning-to-read process, especially in light of frequent assessment or graduation through levels.” The message comes through loud and clear: If you don’t learn to read, you’ll be a failure. “Shamed readers do not believe they improve or can improve,” says Stygles.

He believes three principles can refocus the interaction of reading, teacher, and instruction and reduce shame in reading classrooms:

Compassion – Testing and leveling early in the school year can remind some students of what they can’t do. “Measurement must be replaced by early and frequent positive transactions between reading, teacher, and texts,” says Stygles. In his own classroom, he devotes the opening weeks of school to getting to know the reading lives of each student and launching them into successful experiences with well-chosen texts.

Authenticity – “Not all of us love reading,” says Stygles. “Our kids need to know our struggles, our withdrawals and reluctance. Students should know, from our childhoods to our present reading states, if we disliked books, felt inferior to peers, or felt unacknowledged by people from whom we wanted to gain affirmation… We should share with students what intimidates us about reading, how we find time, and how we focus… If we show our readers realities of reading, maturing students will see reading as less burdensome.” Struggling students especially need to be able to deal with the intimidation factor of classmates who are voracious, effortless readers.

Resiliency – Students need to get past dreary minimum requirements (eight books a year) and understand the commitment involved in becoming a good reader. “What students can learn,” says Stygles, “is how to manage their time, select books reasonably, and justify their reading choices. When students understand their capacity – what they can do successfully – they not only protect themselves from shameful failure, but also become stronger readers through repeated experiences of success and pleasure.”

“Eliminating Shame in Reading Instruction: Three Simple Principles to Change Struggling Readers’ Perceptions” by Justin Stygles in Literacy Today, January/February 2016 (Vol. 33, #4, p. 10-11), no free e-link available; Stygles is at justin.vocabularyteacher@yahoo.com. .

Krysten Wendell

Director of Curriculum and Instruction