Chapter 5: Book Talk
For me this could be the most important chapter in this book. After all, how do you convince a non-reader to pick up a book. You can’t just say, “Do it, it will be okay.” By the time my students enter my room they may be several years behind the expected reading level leaving them frustrated and willing to settle for a lack of a reading life. “It’s too hard!” has become the mantra of these students. They are not going to read anything unless they want to read it.
Will the book talk be the answer? I hope so. I thought about how to sell reading to some of my students. I like Kittle’s approach. As I have read books over this summer, I have made notes while reading some and gone back to make notes for others. I’ve tried to remember my favorite parts without giving away spoilers and marked pages to read aloud to give my students a glimpse inside.
I have loved every book that I have read this summer and get excited with the prospect of selling on of these gems to a non-reader via the book talk. I’ve also thought long and hard about how to create learning and writing moments for each text. It was amazing to read her student responses to Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. I can only hope that my own students will be so consumed with their own work to decide as a class to try an activity all on their own. I found a great resource at http://nancykeane.com/booktalks/default.htm that has several book talk examples and ideas to help generate student interest.
Chapter 6: Conferences
The conference seems to be the essence of the classroom. In the conference, the teacher is able to assess students understanding, reading and comprehension skills, and is able to provide motivation, strategies, and support for every student in a one on one relationship. This exchange builds report with students and makes their own development more likely because they have a vested relationship with the teacher.
I like that Kittle breaks down the primary goals for different types of conferences. Clearly this makes the conferencing more fluid and able to adapt to each student’s needs as they arise. Helping each student one on one will create readers. It is in the conference that we can sink our hooks into our non-readers and truly help them become readers through our own excitement for what interests the student. We can show them that their reading isn’t about checking boxes and answering questions about what they very likely consider irrelevant topics in their own lives.