MAT Blog

5 Non-negotiables for Reading Teachers

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on May 13, 2014 2:49:10 PM

Reading TeachersFew of us doubt the importance of teaching reading. Parents want their children to read and teachers have resorted to practically begging their students to read. But how do we make it happen?

According to Donalyn Miller, author of Reading in the Wild, teachers must build and depend on a “framework that exists every day throughout the school year.” This framework, or what Miller refers to as “non-negotiables,” should be the foundation against which teachers check their lesson planning, assessment, resources, classroom management, and virtually every aspect of their instructional design.

We’ve pulled five of Miller’s classroom “negotiables,” and listed them below.

5 Non-negotiables for Reading Teachers

Time to read; time to write
Miller’s students spend a significant amount of time reading in class—approximately one-third of every class period, in fact. During this daily independent reading time, she confers with several students about their reading and meets with small groups of students who need additional instruction and support. In addition to this, she encourages students to read at home and removes or reduces homework and busy-work activities in order to provide time for additional reading.

Students need to feel that they are a part of a community of readers and writers
To help students develop confidence and self-efficacy as readers, Miller places emphasis on ensuring students nurture relationships with other readers in reading communities. These communities include both their peers and teacher. Whether students read below grade level, meet grade-level goals, or surpass grade-level expectations, all of them fully participate in activities and conversations that value individual strengths and viewpoints.

Choice
Miller argues that students need to make their own choices about reading material and writing topics. So in her classroom, students self-select all books for independent reading. She encourages them to read widely, and helps them select books from a variety of genres and formats including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and graphic novels. She also supports and challenges students through reading advisory—that is, guiding them toward books that match their interests and reading abilities.

Students need the opportunity to respond to books in natural ways
Miller stresses the importance of providing students with daily opportunities to respond to what they read. Students share book recommendations, write response entries, and post book reviews based on their independent reading. In addition to this, they talk about books daily with their peers and us through conferences and classroom discussions.

The workshops are built on structure and predictable ritual
In Miller’s classroom, reading workshops follow a consistent routine of lessons—and time for sharing and reflection. Regular conferences, reading response, and reader’s notebook records hold students accountable for their reading and provide information about their progress toward personal and academic reading goals.

If you’re interested in learning more about Donalyn Miller’s approach to reading instruction, check out one of our recent blogs, “5 Simple Ways to Increase Independent Reading Time.”

New Call-to-Action

Tags: reading assessment, effective reading comprehension strategies, reading ability, reading teachers, read alouds

Marygrove MAT's best of April

Posted by Marygrove MAT on May 7, 2013 9:22:00 AM

best of aprilWe’re always looking forward, but before we get too far into May, we want to look back on our most popular blogs in April. We like doing this for a couple of reasons. First, as avid blog readers ourselves, we know that we often miss out on great content, especially when our favorite sites are updated every day. Second, we’ve found that looking back on the content that was most popular with our readers is the best way to figure out what we should (or shouldn’t) be blogging about in the future. Happy May, everyone!

An awesome classroom management strategy you've never heard of
If you have a cell phone or landline in your classroom, you’ve got everything you need for your students to make “Brag Phone Calls.” Did a number of your students recently turn in exceptional work or demonstrate leadership? Brag Phone Calls give these students the opportunity to call home and brag to their parents about it.

Spark It: A free reading assessment tool for parents and teachers

It’s unfortunate, but every year we encounter struggling readers who have been lost in the shuffle or flown under the “reading radar” for years. So you can imagine how pleased we were to come across Spark it, a free reading assessment tool that not only evaluates readers’ skill level, but also offers recommendations for improvement and activities to develop their skills.

Text-Based Games: A cure for the common book?
When Bantam discontinued its popular Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book series in the late 90s, our students shed a few tears. Thankfully, Choice of Games—an online publisher who has been releasing “text-based games”—has picked up where Bantam left off. Did we mention that all of their books are completely free?

No More Poetry-Induced Groans: 2 unconventional Poetry Lessons
Robert Frost once said that free verse poetry is “like playing tennis with the nets down.” Mr. Frost may not approve, but we want to help you take down the proverbial nets and give your students two poetry lessons they’ll actually enjoy.

How to Make Earth Day Relevant to Students
Technically Earth Day falls on April 22 every year, but we know how important it is to commemorate the holiday every day. To help you do this, we put together a free downloadable guide that offers two student-friendly activities that will:

  • Help students visualize and understand how oil spills impact our planet
  • Give students the opportunity to use two methods currently used to clean up oil spills

    Summer 2013 Deadlines

Tags: reading assessment, Best of, reading comprehension, classroom management, reluctant readers, earth day

Spark It: A free reading assessment tool for parents and teachers

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Apr 9, 2013 9:16:00 AM

reading assessmentIt’s unfortunate, but every year we encounter struggling readers who have been lost in the shuffle or flown under the “reading radar” for years. So you can imagine how pleased we were to come across Spark it, a free reading assessment tool that not only evaluates readers’ skill level, but also offers recommendations for improvement and activities to develop their skills.

What impressed us about Spark It was its “user-friendliness.” As parents facilitate the four parts of the assessment, they’re guided by pop-up icons that tell them exactly what to do, when to do it and what they should say. Should parents experience any issues during the assessment, they can refer to the “tips” icon.

SparkIt assesses students’ proficiency in four areas:

  • Vocabulary (Picture Identification): Looking at pictures of objects and correctly naming the objects
  • Fluency (Rapid Naming): Quickly naming a string of familiar items—a series of numbers, letters or colors
  • Phonemic Awareness: Understanding how individual letter sounds combine to make a word and saying them
  • Letter and Word Calling: Pronouncing letters and words correctly, either by sight (just knowing it) or by sounding them out

 reading assessment2

Once the reading assessment is finished, you’ll receive instant results (see above picture) along with a personalized plan to help the reader improve his or her skills.

 

Guide to Reading Comprehension

Tags: reading assessment, reading comprehension, reading instruction, reading specialist, struggling reader, reading ability, reading fluency

Subscribe to the Marygrove MAT Blog!

Comments on this Blog Post