Updated: Jun 14, 2020
As teachers, we all come into the profession with certain strengths and rooms for improvement. And, for me, my strength was in teaching mathematics. I can see the natural progression from one-to-one counting to subitizing to recognizing patterns to more complex math problems. I can work with one student and have a decent understanding of what they need next.
But when it came to reading and writing, I felt a bit more like I was in murky water. I knew how to help students find books at their reading level (without color coded books). I know a lot about how to teach phonics. In fact, I'd consider this a strength of mine. But what about the more abstract concepts in reading and writing? How do I scaffold a student from describing every minute detail of a story to telling the main idea? How do I help students identify the climax of a story if they associate climax to the funniest part or part that they most relate to?
Other than teaching to the whole group about the concepts and providing as many examples and opportunities to explore the topics, I can't say that I had the most clear strategies outlined.
Through The Educator's Book Club, I've had the opportunity to learn more about topics that I enjoy, but I've had opportunities to learn about things that I didn't even realize was murky beforehand.
Through this November 2019 book study, Serravallo shed light on what behaviors I should expect from readers at various levels. She gives strategies that can be used to advance them to the next level. She identifies what traits to look for in different levels of text and provides samples of student responses to those text levels.
I immediately wished I could have a do-over in my former classrooms. What a difference all of this knowledge would have made!
But there was one common thread across the discussions and in the book. There was constant reference to The Reading Strategies Book.
While Understanding Texts and Readers was a great stand-alone book, I believe that it is much more impactful if The Reading Strategies Book is read first. There were several moments that I had wished I could return to The Reading Strategies book to reference a strategy mentioned. However, I must say that Jennifer Serravallo provides so many free resources through podcasts and blog posts that you are definitely not at a loss for information.
Here are five things that I'm most excited about for the July 2020 Book Study on The Reading Strategies Book.
Learning specific strategies that can help me to guide students to more solid understanding of reading
Clarity on identifying students' reading skills and adjusting my instruction to fit their individual needs
Demonstrations and explanations regarding language that can be used during instruction
Goals! (I'm all about setting goals. All the better for the students and teacher!)
Anchor Charts... In conjunction with the language that can be used, Serravallo also provides examples of anchor charts to help support the reading strategies. And who doesn't love a beautiful AND purposeful anchor chart?!
Quite honestly, I'm sure there is much more to like about this book and I'll write a thorough review at the end of the study. So, be on the look out for that!
Additionally, Jennifer Serravallo has a Facebook community online, The Reading and Writing Strategies Community, where she is actively participating and continuously providing more insight. Go check out her group if you are looking for additional resources and an amazing community of reading/writing teachers!
And don't forget to join in the book studies at The Educator's Book Club group on Facebook! See you there!