Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Book Whisperer

How many books do your students read in a year? Ten? Twenty? Forty?! I recently completed The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller (2009) and I am feeling very inspired.  Miller sets the bar high by having her students read 40 books in her grade 6 classroom! 

Why so many? The research is clear. The more you read, the better reader you will become!

Some self-reflection... as I thought back to my past teaching practice, I know that I never gave my students enough time to actually read, and I never supported their reading selection in a powerful way as Miller demonstrates.  Miller offers a wealth of tips and alternatives to whole class novel practice that we know is not successful practice in our classrooms.  Miller will certainly challenge your beliefs about these practices by providing solid evidence and strong alternatives.  Of course, what it all comes down to: Know your readers and be a reader yourself! This is a must read, in my opinion, for every teacher of reading.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Engaging readers through book trailers in the classroom and library

Have you ever considered that difficulty finding books to read is one of the greatest reasons children may not be reading. Even for some of our avid readers, choosing books is hard.  Hey, it is for me sometimes, too! So, it just makes sense that for some of these readers, teachers and teacher-librarians should actively promote books and hear students say "Hey, I want to read that!"

Book trailers are one way to help our students access books.  Here is one trailer that my fellow student, Crystal, and I created for our summer course, EDES 501, through U of A. 

A few tips... think about the big ideas or themes when selecting images.  Find music (creative commons license, of course) that works with that theme.  Then...don't forget that  you don't want to give away the ending! This trailer was created on Movie Maker but I think next time, I'll be trying out Animoto.com

FYI, all photos were courtesy of Flickr and the music, Akili by Peppa Ska, was courtesy of Jamendo.com.

Finally, don't forget students can learn to create their own trailers, too!