Growing Myself as a Reader at TCRWP’s Summer Reading Institute

After day one of TCRWP’s Summer Reading Institute I am overwhelmed with the volume and depth of what i’ve heard and learned.

A lot has changed since the last time I attended a Summer Reading Institute six years ago.  One of the biggest changes has been the expectation of the Common Core. . The other change you might not be as well aware of is the change in me. I entered  classrooms a very different person.

Today I sit in a place taking in information that is rich and complex for me to synthesize and understand. Today I access knowledge on a deeper level. Just like my students who have to dig deeper to take in text, I have to work at a different level. Before I understood the idea of the work, and I worked hard to bring it into my classroom, but the practice wasn’t the result of my personal practice.It was processed by others.

Today I’m at point where I need to take this work to a deeper level. Just like my students. Lucy Calkins’ keynote address  highlighted the call to see reading as a personal challenge. The expectations of what it is to be a reader have changed. Drastically.  Students need to process information at a deep level.  They are no longer the receivers of information. Now they have to do something with it. And, we teachers are not the information source. Now we are one source of how to access text, how to interpret, to synthesize meaning. Lucy asked us to see this as a  turning point for students and for teachers.

Today teachers need to take this challenge on and grow ourselves as readers. We work on our writing to get better at it. Why should reading be any different.  Getting better as a reader needs to be something we take on. It’s personal. Sure we’ve been reading for a long time, but we need to look at our reading closely and ask ourselves how can we get better. Most people I know accept the fact that we could learn a lot about writing. How is reading all that different? Just because no one sees what you think as you read? Try one of the common core tasks with a piece of literature and you tell me. Is it easy? Could you improve? Absolutely.

We need to work on it and at it.

What a huge aha that was for me. Of course. Why wouldn’t we need to work on ourselves as readers. This will allow us to work side-by-side with our students, drawing upon our own struggles and our found strategies to help students attack their struggles. Just as we do in writing.

Today is another day to try this work and get better as a reader.

4 thoughts on “Growing Myself as a Reader at TCRWP’s Summer Reading Institute

  1. Good point! I have been doing that so far this summer because I have been reading more, and I have been paying attention to my moves. The challenge is to balance this heavy, thoughtFUL work with lighter, more playful reading so that we don’t beat it into the ground. How much is a balance? That may be our biggest challenge yet– to find it for each of our students.

  2. Julieanne,
    One of the best things about Lucy’s keynote was sharing that experience with you. I have loved meeting more Twitter friends this summer. I loved Lucy’s challenge to “grow” or even “outgrow” ourselves as readers. I believe this increased understanding of our own metacognition will enable us to add to our repertoire of strategies for student work.

    I can’t wait to continue reading about the institute through your eyes!

  3. Isn’t it great that learning and growing never stops? Some years ago the biggest eye-opener for me as a reader was Ellin Keene and Susan Zimmerman’s Mosaic of Thought. The way they showed their thinking as a reader made me more conscious of what was going on in my head. Being part of Literature Circles with kids has made me practice what I have asked the students to do. I know I still have a lot of room for growth. I look forward to reading how you go about challenging yourself as a reader.

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