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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read

Chapter One: Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read

Book Study Link Up
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The chapter starts out presenting interesting statistics about the amount of time spent reading in class and it’s correlation to percentile rankings  on standardized teststhe most interesting one to me was that those scoring in the 98% read approximately 65 minutes per day.  Then, Donalyn Miller goes on to discuss three important ideas within this dedicated reading time: community conversations, conferring points, and keeping track of you reading life.
Donalyn explain reading on the edge as finding edge time, or spare time, where you can grab a few minutes at a time to read.  She tries to eliminate the excuse of not having time by helping students find edge time where they can sneak in a few minutes of reading here and there throughout their daily schedule.  For example, students can read on the way to dance or football practice or while riding the bus home.  She goes on to emphasize how everyone should always have a book on hand in case of a reading emergency, like being stuck in traffic or at the doctor.  There are always moments to read if you look for them.  Then, there is binge reading in which you just sit down to read and can’t but the book down.  The last time I did that for pleasure was after finding out about the Twilight series from a student who “didn’t line reading” was reading this huge book and he was so into it.  Students’ interests matter and that is where the reading itinerary fits in.  Students keep track of where they read, and what they read, in order to figure out there preferences and the most effective place for them to read.  However, when asked, students needed quiet for the most successful reading time.
Next, Donalyn went on to describe conferring points for students who are fake read or avoid reading all together.  Six signs of reading avoidance behavior are: (s)he reads too few or too many books in a given time period, frequently abandons books, plans personal errands during their independent reading time, fidgets or talks a lot, rarely has a book to read, and/or possibly ACTS like/mimics wild reader behavior.  The author talks about how she notes these behaviors from a distance and confers individually with this student about this behavior and tries to remedy the avoidance behavior after she does a formal independent reading observation.  This reading observation occurs over a period of several days at different times during the independent reading time. 
Purchase on AmazonChapter One concludes with keeping track of your reading using response letters (which is a continuance from the first book The Book Whisperer) and a status of the class update which I liked because it is an accountability piece that fits perfectly into the workshop model. 

Not that I haven’t done it this way, but I loved her approach to avoidance behaviors. 
1. Observe and take notes
2. Individual conference with the student (with evidence in hand) to figure out why the student is avoiding the task
3. Remedy the situation.
4. Monitor progress.

I have yet to figure this out.  A lot of this sounded wonderful for the third grade class I had this past school year, but next year I will be in kindergarten.  I will do a kind of Status of the Class and I will be on the lookout for avoidance behaviors.

I want to think more about the introduction of edge time and reading emergencies.  If these are meant to be lifelong habits, shouldn’t we start building a love of learning young?  But, is kindergarten too young for topics like edge time and reading emergencies?

P.S. - If you haven’t read the introduction, READ IT!  I found it extremely helpfulso helpful I went out and got The Book Whisperer for more great ideas.


  1. I don't think Kinder is too early for reading emergencies. My kids started out with cloth and bath books. They graduated to board books. Where ever they went so went a book. In preschool they graduated to picture books. They always knew that reading time was a special time. A time to learn, laugh, and cuddle. It is also a way to fill a bucket and let others have the extra time they need.

    Think, Wonder, & Teach