Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Scholastic Reading Conference

I am linking up once again for the Big Time Blogging Challenge. The topic for today is "Create a SOMEDAY list. What do you want to get to someday - personal or professional."  I promise I WILL answer this, however....I want to discuss an amazing conference I attended earlier this summer. 

I mentioned a while back that I attended the Scholastic Reading Summit in St. Louis. I've been waiting to share the information with you until the resources for the conference were posted.  I got the email this week and we are good to go! 

While Scholastic is obviously known for its commitment to reading and bringing books into the classroom, the main focus of the reading summit was Independent Reading.  The day was jam packed with different sessions and meetings dedicated to supporting teachers in creating an environment where independent reading is a focus.

The summit started with a great motivational talk about the power of independent reading. I loved some of the quotes: 

"The single factor most strongly associated with reading achievement - more than socioeconomic status or any instructional approach is independent reading." ~ Dr. Stephen Krashaw

"There's no such thing as a child who hates reading. There are just kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong book. We need to help them find the right books. There are millions of kids in this country who've never read a book they love and that needs to change." ~ James Patterson 

How inspirational!!! Then it was time to get busy!

The first session I attended was about classroom libraries. I have always had a classroom library, however, since moving to Kindergarten, I've felt that it was an area in need of desperate help. I personally own A LOT of books, but I have (admittedly) hoarded them selfishly for myself at home. I'm a bit protective over books and have been 'keeping them safe'. After some thinking, even before I attended the summit, I knew I wanted to bring them into the classroom. How was I ever going to share my love of these books without letting children touch them, smell them, look at them and read them? The problem I still had? I wasn't exactly sure the best way to organize. 

During my first session with Sandi Novak, we discussed what best practice for a classroom library looks like. Ms. Novak has gathered information and research together to create a classroom library inventory. It discusses the number of books that should be in your classroom library, the type (fiction, nonfiction, magazine, etc.), the range of reading levels, and how books should be organized and displayed. Teachers can use this inventory to evaluate their own classroom library. To practice using it, we evaluated a mock classroom set up at the conference. I love this tool! It is simple and easy to use, has a spot to mark in progress (nobody has everything right away, right?), and is completely doable. To grab your copy, click on the picture below. 

You can also check out all the other FANTASTIC resources provided for FREE by Scholastic by clicking HERE.

Using this information, and KinderCraze's fantastic labels, I completely overhauled my classroom library! Here is what is looks like now! 

These shelves contain *most* of my themed books (56 categories!).

This shelf holds my leveled readers. Best practice is to provide students with leveled books two grade levels above and two grade levels below your grade. I am still working on gathering lower level books for my library (in progress!) but I feel good about my start!

This little book shelf will hold class books we make throughout the year as well as magazines and books we borrow from library. These books will face out! 

My book hospital tub for broken/ripped books, and my sweet, cuddly animals!!!

I will be getting a rug for this area but this is my comfortable seating so far! 

While I don't have a separate nonfiction section (not enough room!), I do have nonfiction books mixed in. Here is an example of my 'Fall' tub. 

While I certainly don't feel my library is 'complete' (is anything ever really?), I do feel confident that it is a great space for my students to practice becoming independent readers while falling in love with books. 

The second session I attended focused on creating a school atmosphere to support independent reading. Scholastic has partnered with several 'model' schools across the country to study practices and procedures that help build student success. The principal from one of the model schools, Mrs. Stephanie Brant from  Gaithersburg Elementary in Maryland, presented this session. SHE. WAS AMAZING! She was full of some inspiring ideas. Here were a couple of my favorites!

~ Books and Bagels: families can come on a Saturday morning, get bagels and borrow a book

~ Reading Commitments: not only between student and school, but FAMILY and school!

~ Daily Independent Reading: every day for a set amount of time EVERYONE stops and reads, even the teachers and principal!

~ Who Loves to Read Bulletin Board: highlighting different teachers throughout the year and their favorite books 

~ Family Field Trips to the Library: the school buses families to the library to check out books!

This school was seriously amazing in their commitment to create an independent reading environment for students. I gained so many ideas that I want to implement in our building (my principal is going to love me!).

The conference wrapped up with a keynote address featuring the author Deborah Wiles. She in an amazing speaker! She discussed her journey into writing and how connections and moments in her past have inspired and influenced her work. You all have to hear her speak. I cried. Multiple times. While most of her books are for older children, I couldn't resist! I bought two of her books! 

I want my own children to hear these stories when they are older! I want them to hear their message! I was excited that I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Wiles at a book signing after the keynote address. She is so nice! 

Overall, the conference was AMAZING and the people from Scholastic who put on the conference?  SO.  NICE.  It was a great day!  Now, how did this all relate to the BTBC14 topic today?  I think eventually, as I think more and more about the future, I know I want to work with literacy.  Maybe a reading teacher, maybe a curriculum instructor, maybe a professor...?  I'm not exactly sure what route is the best for me and my family, but I do know that reading is a passion and something that I will definitely be working with in the future!  I'm feeling so excited to start this year and start working with my kiddos!  Only two weeks left!



1 comment:

  1. Great post! I love your classroom library and want to go to this conference.