I am so honored to be hosting chapter 6 for this book study!
My name is Daina and I'm currently a 1st grade teacher! You can usually find me over at my blog - Sticky Notes & Glitter! I would love it if you check out my blog once you have read my post and shared some thoughts on Chapter 6!
I made 3 versions of the Book Pass in hopes that all grade level teachers could hopefully use it!
Now, the advantage of books groups is that you can have students reading various texts thus getting different perspectives. This will call for some lively, valid class discussion where students feel ownership in what they are discussing because they are in a book group where THEY helped choose the book.
So all in all, "old school" whole-class novel studies are probably not the best way to instruct students during your reading time. Try some new and creative ways to still expose students to those types of texts, but don't let it be ALL they encounter!
Traditional Practice: Comprehension Tests
When it comes to comprehension tests, teachers often fall into the pattern of assign it, then assess it. This leaves zero room for learning and teaching to actually take place. If a student is doing something only to be able to pass a test, they are neither motivated nor engaged in that activity. I can think of a perfect example that really jumped out at me while reading this whole chapter. At my current school, there are differing opinions regarding weekly spelling tests with 1st graders. Some think that you must have a weekly spelling test, others say it's not necessary. I'll be honest with you that I'm on the side of thinking it's not necessary to test students every week in a 1st grade classroom. If I have 4 instructional days to teach a concept, test on the 5th day, and then I'm on to something new on Monday, how can students be mastering the material? Students do exactly what Ms. Miller says they'll do. They will cram the information in for that week to get a passing grade and then forget that information the following week simply because a NEW test will be given. The same goes for reading comprehension tests. Forcing students to read and remember something for a test does not foster their love for reading... it unfortunately does the opposite!
I LOVE how Ms. Miller really puts it into perspective with this thought!I love my TV shows and look forward to them as a "relaxing" part of my evenings. With that said, if I were required to do a test after watching each one, I would quit TV all together. Even though I have always been a pretty good test taker, if I had to take something I do for enjoyment and turn it into a requirement, it would lose all the pizazz! This is what we are doing to children and their love of reading when we stifle them with reading for requirements. Ms. Miller doesn't say to not assess students... instead, she assesses them by having them show their understanding of literary elements by digging into their own books which they can't do if they are reading it only to pass the test.
Now, at this point, I have covered quite a bit of information from the chapter but there is still a lot left! I'm going to quickly highlight the remaining parts because I know my post is already very lengthy!
Ms. Miller goes on to discuss the traditional practice of book reports where she basically sums up that they don't work the way you want them to! Try alternatives such as Book Commercials and Book Reviews!
The traditional practice of reading logs also doesn't work the way it is intended! Instead try expanding your reading time IN CLASS and if you have reading requirements that students have to meet, allow some freedom within that structure!
Another traditional practice of round-robin reading (aka Popcorn Reading) is also one of those practices that needs to be revisited! Why not try letting students prepare and practice those passages or paragraphs for oral reading instead of putting them on the spot? This will build their confidence and fluency as well as comprehension on the passage.
And lastly, Ms. Miller cautions against incentive programs. Rather than focusing on temporary incentives that may cause students to read a lot to earn the incentive, then not read again until another incentive comes along, focus on fostering the love of reading and the rewards that reading can bring you! Those rewards will last a lifetime unlike the temporary incentives.
Whew! That was a LOT of information and I really hadn't prepared to go on forever and ever like that. Despite the lengthiness, I truly hope you enjoyed reading my post on Chapter 6! As I said before, PLEASE read the chapter for yourself! It is so worth it!
I do hope you will leave your thoughts and comments below! I look forward to reading them! :)
Thanks for sticking with me!