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Along with many others, I am reading and reflecting on Vicki Vinton’s book Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading.   This week’s assignment in #cyberPD is chapters 5 and 6.  In these chapters, Vicki gets down to the nitty gritty of reading instruction by taking us with her into a classroom and watching her guide students through a read-aloud. So often we are given theory without practical application. In this book, I feel I am a fly on the wall in Vicki’s classroom.

We are invited to use a Notice/ Wonder chart.  A few years ago when I participated in the Global Read Aloud, this was the way I had my students enter into a Voxer conversation with other classes.  By using notice and wonder, students can engage in the text without the stress of “text-based questions” or a “literary essay.”  It’s low-stakes reading.

Ralph Fletcher makes a case for low-stakes writing in his latest book Joy Write.  Low-stakes reading, like low-stakes writing, is necessary to build critical thinking skills as well as to honor our students for who they are as readers and writers.  All ideas are accepted so all become active participants in the discussion.

In chapter 6, Vicki writes about low-stakes writing prompts for fiction.  She gives a list of the values of this kind of writing.  I want to add to this list.  I agree that the writing can give you a glimpse into the minds of the students, but I contend that the act of writing itself helps to solidify that thinking.  By writing down thoughts about reading, students engage their core thinking.  They focus and process at a higher level.

Turn and talk can become open and write.  Adding the low-stakes writing component will help me build my students’ muscles for longer high-stakes writing.  I require a reader response each week about independent reading.  Some students struggle around what they should write.  By using read-aloud and low-stakes writing about reading alongside notice and wonder, my students will be able to practice writing about reading.

Curiosity puts the brain in a state where it is ready to learn, according to Albert Einstein.  Vicki goes on to say that curiosity is nurtured in a classroom from the inside.  No outside motivators will make this happen.  We must cultivate a classroom atmosphere that welcomes questions.  Wonder should be at the forefront.  Perhaps my daily journal prompt should be “What are you wondering about today?”  Keep curiosity alive around reading and students will lead themselves to the joy of learning.  You can just stand by and watch.

cyberpd

 

 

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