Everybody is a reader.
The title sums it all up, doesn’t it? Everybody is a reader. Even people who do not distinguish themselves as readers, read. In college, we had an assignment once to record everything we read in a 24 hour period. We were reading lots of things and didn’t even think of it as reading. I think this would be a fun exercise for older students, just to get them to realize how much of our lives revolve around reading.
I realize that I’m probably not in the norm here, but I loved the book frenzy! My class had a book frenzy last year on the first day of school, but it wasn’t on purpose. I just didn’t set clear expectations and it got out of control! I will call it a happy accident because my students were excited to explore the books in the room. This year, I will make sure I get a little bit more involved with recommendations and have my students offer up recommendations as well. I think choosing books on the first day of school is so important because it sets the tone for the entire year. Students will know that reading is the priority in this classroom.
I definitely prefer the more positive terms Miller applies to our young readers than those used in the past. Though we would never tell a student they are a struggling reader, it’s kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy thing. On page 25, Miller says of developing readers, “these students have the ability to become strong readers.” As teachers, we must believe this, or else what are we doing? Miller then tells the story of Kelsey, a developing reader whose name was on “the list.” We all know this list, don’t we? I related so much to Kelsey’s story because I have a similar story with a similar student.
Dormant readers are those who can read, have success in reading, but don’t enjoy reading. Miller points out that many times these students move through our classrooms unmotivated and uninterested in reading, and that in many cases it’s not a concern so long as they pass the state tests each year. Although this is true, it saddens me very much. I hope to change that this year in my classroom.
I found the story of Randy, an underground reader, very interesting. Randy is the student who ended up failing Miller’s class because he didn’t complete assignments. He just wanted to read. I question if Randy’s story happens more with boys, because in my experience my underground readers are also very good students, always wanting to please the teacher. Miller says she let Randy down by failing him. Haven’t we all felt this way about a student before?
At the end of the chapter, Miller describes conditions for learning. While reading this, I recalled that in college I always said I wanted my classroom to have wall-to-wall books. This was before I knew the harsh realities of school funding. If I had unlimited money to spend (or any money, for that matter!), I would buy books: lots and lots of books!
I am very much enjoying reading and responding to this book, and I hope you are too! I’m even going to ask our literacy consultant if she would like to do a book study with the staff this year using this book!