Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reading in the Wild, Ch. 3-4

I read and thoroughly enjoyed Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer which came out during my first year of teaching, so I was excited to learn out that a group of teachers were doing an online book club of her newest book, Reading in the Wild. Though I am a week behind in finding out about the discussions, I was excited to get my library copy recently and catch up. This #cyberPD is being hosted by Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine, Laura Komos of Ruminate and Invigorate, and Michelle Nero of Literacy Learning Zone.

Chapters 3-4 of Reading in the Wild

Chapter 3 is titled Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Other Readers, and Chapter 4 is Wild Readers Have Reading Plans. My favorite sections of these two chapters are the examples Donalyn gives for how to make reading and reading lives visible in the classroom and school communities. I am looking forward to having some additional bulletin board and wall space in my room this year, and these suggestions have sparked some ideas for how best to utilize them.

  • Reading Graffiti Wall - a place for students and teachers to share favorite quotes from a book. This became a touchstone place for Donalyn's class and a way for students to share their love of books and characters with each other. 
  • Reading Doors (or Reading Displays) - what started as teachers displaying covers of favorite books (recently read and from the past) morphed into a place for groups of students to cooperate on building theme-based displays of favorite books and recommendations. A great way for students to take ownership over the book recommendation process.
  • Student-driven reading goals or reading resolutions - this matches a lot of what I do with having students design and evaluate quarterly reading goals, but I liked the public emphasis on students posting and sharing their resolutions (which also serves to remind themselves too, I am sure). I may incorporate some of her suggestions for different types of reading goals and challenges (pages 143-150) into the sheet my students use when choosing their own goals.
Finally, as always, I appreciate hearing how other teachers run the conferring aspect of their Reading Workshops and always like the reassurance that I am not the only one who finds conferring (and especially keeping track of conferring) complicated. I would much rather focus on having quality conversations with students about their reading and learning than worrying about which form goes where, but I like the idea of using pre-printed labels help ensure that you are meeting regularly with all students.

Wondering about the possibility of using technology (maybe Padlet) to create online versions of some of the types of displays mentioned in the book as well. Interested to hear if other teachers have used technology in that way.


  1. Hi Katie,
    Like you, I thought the ideas of Reading Doors (or displays) and the Reading Graffiti Wall were good ones. I like your idea of using technology to create online versions of the displays, especially since students would be able to access outside of the classroom (or in my case the library). S'more or Glogster may also be good options for you to try. Would love to see what you create!

    1. Thanks so much, Jamie! I have not tried anything yet with S'more or Glogster, so I will have to look into those as well. Thanks!

  2. I have created a graffiti wall for my students as well. I am excited for them ot let their nerdyness out and let others see it publicly!

  3. Hi Katie, I'm planning to find a place for a graffiti wall, too, and it will have to be in the hall outside my office-no longer have a classroom. Since this board is also outside the library, hope it works. I think some of those discussing this book here have created padlets to collect different things & are using Pinterest. All of these are shared on the #CyberPd twitter feed. Thanks for sharing what your plans are!

  4. Thanks, Linda! I was excited to see the Padlet Graffiti wall starting up and am curious to track its progress. I love your idea of a school-wide graffiti wall - what better way to honor a true school reading community?

  5. Katie,
    You've shared many smart suggestions for making reading and reading lives visible in our classroom and school communities. The graffiti wall, reading door, and plans for goal setting do help us dig in and share our reading with our community.

    Padlet does offer opportunities to create online versions of some of the displays shared. Blogs, Shelfari, Goodreads, and other social reading sites provide other opportunities for readers to share in common spaces.

    For me, Evernote has been the perfect digital tool for organizing notes and artifacts from conferring.



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