Why Blog

I’m passionate about finding ways to simplify comprehension instruction and learning. I’m concerned that we are defining comprehension too narrowly as an accumulation of five or six meta-cognitive strategies when cultivating comprehension involves so much more than that. We need to help children acquire accurate fluent reading skills and strategies; build background knowledge; develop their oral language and vocabulary; make reading-writing connections, and acquire a repertoire of meta-cognitive strategies to use as and if needed.

So I invite you to join me in blogging about this ever-so-important topic. I look forward to hearing your ideas, teaching strategies, book recommendations, classroom stories, etc., basically anything that will inspire a healthy conversation among colleagues.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kids Have to Read a Lot to Get Better at It

As the school year draws to a close, it’s time to consider which areas of instruction we want to reflect on over the summer months and refine for the coming year. If I were asked this question, improving the quality of children’s independent reading times of day would be at the top of my list. Whether my students were emergent and early readers just starting out or more proficient readers who were refining their reading skills and strategies to embrace more complex text, providing them with opportunities to read voluminously under my guidance and direction would most definitely be a top priority.

Two books I highly recommend to support your thinking in this regard are Terry Young and Barbara Moss’s Creating Lifelong Readers Through Independent Reading and Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. The first, Creating Lifelong Readers Through Independent Reading, lays out the basics of why independent reading is vital to children reading success and how to set up a classroom environment to make it happen. It helps us consider all the teaching and learning possibilities that independent reading offers students and demonstrates how to incorporate strategy work and content-area learning into the mix.

Although many of you may have already read Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer, it’s certainly a title to pull down from your shelf and revisit. Its subtitle “Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child” just about says it all. Miller, a sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher, reveals how year after year she moves her students to choose their own books, read voluminously, and acquire a passion for reading. However, it’s for sure not a “go read and I’ll see you later” approach. Miller shares with her students what she does as a reader, invites them to bring their own ideas to the table, and is intensely involved in every step of their journey. Her passion for reading and her empowerment of students make all the difference in the world.


  1. I enjoy your blog! I am now a follower!


  2. thanks adrienne. glad we're in touch...