Home » #cyberPD » #cyberPD: Reading in the Wild–Ch. 3-4

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild–Ch. 3-4


I’m sneaking this out Sunday night, before I head out for camping and backpacking this week, and scheduling it for a Wednesday post. It will tweet, and when I get back, I will comment/post a link on Ruminate and Invigorate, host of this week’s discussion (Thanks, Laura!). If you happen to find it before then, good on you!

After reading through a handful of posts last week, I found myself thinking more about mini-lesson topics as I read this week’s chapters. It’s interesting to see how others’ responses to a shared reading experience can influence future thinking. Oh, wait–reader influence is part of Chapter 3! Whoa. Meta.

In Ch. 3, I was indeed particularly struck by the section on reader influence. I plan to add a mini-lesson on this to my queue. I also took careful note of “What schools should do if they want kids reading more” on p. 95-96. I feel that the reading culture at my school is too locked down and restrictive (not in my class, but overall). The more fodder for pushing a shift, the better.

And the conferring section. Ack! My life! Last year was particularly difficult, since my students were terrible independent workers/readers–independent reading time was just one big management battle. Things will be better this year, but I still anticipate a struggle to confer with every student in a reasonably acceptable time frame. I took to heart Donalyn’s thoughts about my purpose and goals for conferring. I’m hoping to focus things a bit to increase the value of that one-on-one time.

really liked the section in Ch. 4 about challenge and commitment goals. I am pretty bad at revisiting goals, so this type of thing has always sort of sputtered in my classroom. However, I started thinking about using goals and plans as a way of almost turning over the “assigning” of reading to the students. They can assign themselves their reading. I can check in via conferences and reading responses. It’s an intriguing idea, and one I want to explore further.

Here’s a little bit of my personal canon to finish things off:

  • Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
  • Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling
  • Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  • Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst
  • Strega Nona, by Tomie DePaola
  • Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina
  • The River Why, by David James Duncan

Talk to you next week!


  1. Adam,
    Glad you are back for round 2. Hope you are enjoying your camping getaway!

    There are so many mini-lesson topics and conversations starters! I feel like I need to go back and start a list, similar to the “First 20 days” (Fountas & Pinnell) and combine the two! Great conversations to start the year and continually revisit throughout the year to form habits.

    I worry about my school reading community as well. A small team of teachers and I work together to create that culture, but even more needs to be done in the classrooms and even at home. I’m seeing the parents being a huge part of creating wild readers!

    Conferring time, I think, is some of the most difficult work, but the most rewarding for the students and the teacher. Stick with your “bottom line” in your classroom! The goals and challenges will also help push our readers — perfect for your conferring!

    Great list of canon books. I have not heard of “The River Why.” I’m intrigued — I have yet to really think about my personal canon …

    Thanks for joining in again!

    • Mr. S says:

      I thought the same thing about modifying the Fountas and Pinnell guide. I did that a little with the Lucy Calkins Units of Study last year. The F&P is a nice, basic list, and easily adapted for whatever a new year brings [cough cough Wonders].

  2. Lisa says:

    Like you and Michelle I’ve been thinking about my first 20 days too. I’m going to have to write it out soon so u don’t forget all my ideas!

    I have had some really tough classes too. It’s exhausting and deflating. I thought as I read these chapters that if I had been better at conferring we may have gotten further. One group in particular were all in need of more attention. Their home lives were hard! If I’d done more one-to-one work I think that may have filled an emotional need for them.

    • Mr. S says:

      I’m never satisfied. It’s hard not to get down on ourselves sometimes. I often think, “I did my best,” but then I immediately think, “But my best could be better.” I try to direct this into a constantly-growing approach, rather than a despairing one.

      Thank goodness for our support networks!

  3. Your point about turning over the planning to the students is key! They need to own it to develop the lifelong habit…planning it for them gives them no reason to plan on their own…I had that a-ha!

    • Mr. S says:

      I’m looking forward to helping students create their own goals and “assignments.” I just need to make sure I support them with follow-up (especially–I often drift in this area) and feedback.

  4. Mariam aka Mimi says:

    Picture books are some of my favoriteS!! So I’m writing because I am running the Book Blog awards this year and wanted to let you know nominations have been extended and are now open until october 12th. There are 13 awards up for grabs. You may nominate your own blog or ask your readers to nominate you. Readers vote on November 15th.

    Please leave a comment on my blog or tweet me @emancipatedmimi to get the badge to add to your site. You may use it to encourage your readers to vote for your blog on Nov 15th. The awards are intended to be fun and exciting, and get your blog some exposure as well. Hope you will join =) I’m usually on twitter so tweet me anytime with questions or comments =)

    official announcement video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA0Utyx6hMI
    NOMINATE here: http://docs.google.com/forms/d/1LJfSPMYlHSND3LZAypVoNak-nt67jeW5UHfjU6_GyHo/viewform

    VOTE HERE on Nov 15: http://docs.google.com/forms/d/1jAz1fJ-30YuNZvijMm0JN6rxj_yhjSU7rVqSIZFlOtI/viewform?edit_requested=true

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