Saturday, July 25, 2015

Scholastic Reading Summit Takeaways

I attended on of Scholastic's Reading Summits this past week and it was truly one of the best PDs I've attended. I left feeling refreshed, invigorated, and validated. It was amazing being surrounded by other educators and professionals that value life long reading. If you have an opportunity to attend a summit - DO IT! For $100ish dollars we had breakfast, lunch, two break-out sessions and left with some reading teacher swag! Plus, the opportunity to meet all the "gurus" of reading... Donalyn Miller, Mr. Shu, Colby Sharp, and authors like Cythnia Lord!

{Clipart and graphics courtesy of Ashley Hughes, Meredith Anderson, and Krista Wallden}

At the summit each transition was started with a short book talk. I felt myself excited to hear about some books I have yet to read! This was a great reminder that book talks have power! It was then addressed that if as teachers we gave a book talk every single day students would leave with 180 book recommendations! 180 BOOKS! One goal I have for next year is to get a book talk frenzy started in my classroom. If I start the book talks, my students could easily pick them up and carry them throughout the year. Double bonus? Book talks can easily meet Common Core's Speaking and Listening standards.

"I hope your hearts are focused on finding the perfect book for every reader in your life." - Colby Sharp

Teachers already know that all books have value but Donalyn Miller did a great job of reminding me that we need to make sure we're valuing all books - from a book on calligraphy or sharks to Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul all books have value.

"When we diminish a child's reading choices, we diminish the child as a person." - Donalyn Miller

"Books belong to their readers." - John Green

I've been a reader for a long time. I remember asking Santa for a new book shelf. I did have my reading struggles but I didn't know I was a struggling reader. I begged to shop Waldenbooks for new Dr. Seuss books as a kid as saved up money to buy R.L. Stine's latest Fear Street into my teens. However, I don't remember "learning" how to be a reader. I probably don't remember because my mom, aunts, and teachers were such great reading role models. However, not all students have those great models so we need to be intentional and explicitly teach habits of life-long readers.

Some teachable habits include:
- How to dedicate time for reading
- How to maximize reading by reading during "edge" times
- How to self-select a book

"Choosing books allow students to practice making decisions." - Donalyn Miller

"Kids need books everywhere!" - Donalyn Miller

91% of all students say their favorite books are the ones they've picked themselves. 

"The only way to know about what your children are thinking is for us to talk about reading or reading their writing." 
-- Donalyn Miller

Often, I know I get too caught up in my clipboard and standards that I focus on the book the child is reading instead of the reader. Did that happen in the book? What's this book about? Check boxes, check boxes, check boxes. However, I need to be reminded to look at the reader and myself. I should be asking: What do I want to know about this reader? What do I notice about this reader? Is this reader internalizing life-long reading habits?

Every conference should end with a goal for the student and a goal for the teacher.

As we get lots of new ideas and try to implement, implement, implement we need to remember that we need to give ourselves a little grace. Not everything will be perfect right away. We may never conference like Lucy or Nancy and that's okay. I always felt like such a failure when I couldn't perform a Lucy Caulkins in both reading and writing. The most important thing we can take away is to be intentional about our practices and decide our own nonnegotiables. And if things don't work out -  that's okay

Here's a few conferencing tips & ideas:

If you're interested in ALL the great ideas from the Reading Summit, check out #ReadingSummit on Twitter! Check out the keynotes, sessions, and experience the best of the summit for yourself! 

How do you foster the love of reading in your classroom?


  1. Please tell me you went back and rewrote these notes! Your handwriting is impeccable! When I'm taking hurried notes in the moment, it looks like a hot mess! I usually come home and reread and rewrite everything for myself.

  2. I'm going to a Scholastic Reading Summit next week, and your post just made me even more excited! :D Thanks for posting.

    Pencils Books and Happy Looks

  3. I didn't even think to connect Book Talks to CCSS Speaking and Listening Standards- SWEET!


  4. Wow...your handwriting is amazing! Great post. I love the idea of having a book talk every day!

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