We know that a big part of the CCSS is to include more informational texts into ourstudents' reading. I quickly discovered I had a "gap" in my reading diet - the genre of informational texts! To help me fill the gap this year, I am going to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesdays! This is a great link-up hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. Please visit this website to see other educator's link-ups. My goal is to read at least one informational text each week and post information on the blog. The more books and subjects I read, the more I can encourage (my #OLW for 2014) other teachers to use in their classroom!
What's New? The Zoo! A Zippy History of Zoos by Kathleen Krull
This book tells exactly what the title says - it's a history of zoos. Organized by date, Krull details changes zoos have undergone through the ages. Spotlighting origins of zoos all over the world, students will have a geography and history lesson in one!
A few facts stand out:
* Egyptian Pharaoh-Queen Hatshepsut used exotic animals to make her appear mightier.
* Aristotle had his own private zoo so he could study animals and eventually write our first encyclopedia about animals called The History of Animals
* countries have sent each other animals native to their lands as friendly gestures.
* present day Mexico City had the largest zoo of its time... in the 1500s! And it's still one of the largest in world history!
* the National Zoo in D.C. was the first to proclaim a goal to protect animals of extinction.
* there was a zoo in Germany that used moats, artificial rocks, trees and hedges to keep animals away from patrons - no cages!
One of my favorite parts of this book is the gorgeous illustrations by Marcelius Hall. Done in calliacrylic in k and watercolor paint on watercolor paper, the illustrations are detailed, yet calming to look at.
Animal enthusiasts will devour this book!
It's week 3 of our month long #cyberPD where people all over are reading Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild. It has been fascinating going back and reading other educator's thoughts. So often it jogs my memory of a thought I had but had forgotten. Or it makes me think of new possibilities that I hadn't come up with. Join in the conversation or just read and learn! Today's round up of thoughts and musings are posted at Michelle Nero's blog, Literacy Learning Zone
Chapter 5: Wild Readers Show Preferences
What I want to remember:
* I've read this in another professional book as well, and I think it's a point that we need to remember. So often we talk about the different genres, but how often do we go into explicit detail and make sure students not only know the differences between the genres but also how to APPROACH reading a genre. When I sit down to read a ___ book, I know certain things are going to happen. Once we've taught students characteristics of a genre, what to expect when reading one, then give students choices of books to read from that genre. Of course, do some read alouds to have class discussions, especially when modeling, but give students choices to independently read. They need to have time to play with, apply and problem solve what they have learned. They also determine what genres they prefer and why.
Takeaways for teachers:
* "We must push ourselves to read widely in order to best serve our students - as role models who read for diverse purposes and reading advisors who know a lot about books that appeal to all types of readers. The more widely we read, the more expertise we offer to our students." pg. 167 I love this quote. I feel like it is important, but it's not necessarily everyone's belief.
* I think this is a great question to ask yourself in regards to students who reread the same books over and over: "Students reread books for three main reasons: they want to absorb a treasured story into their skin, they want to cement their knowledge of topics and ideas, or they don't know what else to read." pg. 175 Only one of them need help switching to a new book.
* This is a powerful statement, "When we tell students they can't reread a book they love, we put our goals in front of theirs." pg. 176 Ouch, I know I've stopped many a reader from doing this!
* Something that is not typically assessed is reading habits, specifically engagement with reading. I love these two questions: Does the student "fall" into their reading? Is the student fully invested when they have time to read?
Takeaways for students, when they ask "Why do I need to read more?"
* Because "wild readers' preferences become more valuable, reliable, and accurate the more they read." pg. 169
* Readers who know their reading preferences can use that knowledge of that genre to select other texts.
I can't wait until next week for our official Twitter chat with Donalyn!
I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation by reading your thoughts.