My next several Monday Musings posts for staff will be sharing my learning as I read Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild. Here’s this week’s post for our staff:
I’m continuing to share what I learn as I read Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller. (Previous posts are here and here.) Habit 2 of Wild Readers are that they self-select reading material, a habit that I see instilled already in most of our students with the Daily 5 framework solidly in place. Why do we have students self-select reading material? Miller identifies the following reasons (p.46):
- Allows students to value their decision-making ability
- Fosters their capacity to choose appropriate literature
- Gives them confidence and a feeling of ownership
- Improves reading achievement
- Encourages them in becoming lifelong readers
But what about those students that struggle with self-selecting an appropriate book? According to Miller, “Students who cannot successfully choose texts that meet their personal and academic reading goals fail to develop a vital skill that all wild readers possess.” (p. 47)
So what can you do to help your students that are currently unable to self-select? Here are suggestions from Miller:
- Reading Community Suggestions
- Creating Book Buzz (1 easy example is a raffle drawing to get to be the 1st reader of the new classroom library books)
- Abandoning Books (conversations about when/why to abandon a book) – Miller recognizes that habitual book abandoners do’t have the reading experience to know how a typical story will flow with building pages to set the stage for entertaining conflicts.
- Selection Reflections-do they know other readers, online sources or book stores/libraries to go to for book recommendations? Miller shares (in the appendix of the book) a student selection reflection form that can help you as the teacher get to know more about how/why they selected/abandoned a book.
- Preview stacks- create a stack of books you think a student might like, let them preview/choose from the stack (or reject all to find a different book).
*While I am giving bullet points in this post, the book obviously goes much more into detail to build a better understanding of how/why for each of these.