Sunday, December 8, 2013

Letting Go - Chapter 7

It was sad to see this book end, because as a future teacher I wanted to learn more and more about her practices and her classroom.  I wanted a day to day detail outline so that I can produce the same type of results.   As Donalyn Miller is close to ending the year with her students you can see the gains she has made in creating lifelong readers.  “I end the year in the same way that I began: sitting in my green chair, reading.  Not reading in front of them as much as reading with them” (162).  Providing her students as a great role model as lifelong reader, her students have began to mimic her, they are reading far more then they have ever read in a class and they are making book suggestions and recommendations to other students.  Reading is beginning to be their life.  So it was very sad to read when she retells of former students coming back to her class to tell about their new classes where they do not get to choose their book, or even have to keep them in plastic bags as if they were small children, and are required to read whole class novels below their reading level. 

“Instilling lifelong reading habits in my students is like trying to hold the ocean back with a broom, a futile endeavor, if they are going to go right back to the same controlling environment they had before my class” (165).  There are so many teachers who teach reading the same way they were taught, where students are not actually reading and they are bombarded with worksheets and sample test questions.  If Donalyn Miller can find books, research and documents proving her method and practice are the best way to teach students to read and become avid readers, why must we follow traditional practices?  I would say a big reason might be change, no one likes to change their curriculum or how they manage their classroom and another reason could be support.  In order to keep with the progression of Miller’s students in higher grades there has to be some sort of shift and collaboration between colleagues and administration.  “The students who read the most are the best at every part of school – reading, writing, researching, content – specific knowledge, all of it (170).  The goal should be for our students to succeed and gain a love of reading. 

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