When Teacher Has an Aha Moment

I am an avid reader of the Choice Literacy website. I love reading what the leaders in literacy have to say and particularly value those who not only share their pedagogy and thinking, but also work in classrooms with real students.  Franki Sibberson is one of those contributors on Choice Literacy; her writings always make me consider changes that can be made to the way I think about and deliver lessons to my students.

This is Franki’s post from this morning.  When I read it, it became clear to me that while the pull-outs for Tier 3 interventions give my struggling readers support the way instruction at K-2 does, my on- and above-grade readers need greater independence. And – surprise, surprise – every student needs the opportunity to read independently.  That’s something I’ve said all along: Readers can’t grow to be better readers if they never get the opportunity to try out or practice reading on their own. Oddly, I feel validated now – and more determined to make this happen in my classroom.

As an experienced teacher, what Franki shares about learning – and letting go – with intermediate readers really resounded with me.  We struggle at our school with  providing just-right support to the readers who should be able to soar as readers with greater sophistication and skill alongside those who need greater support.  Reading Franki’s article in Choice Literacy this morning made me see things in a new light: in my new 3rd- and soon-to-be 4th-grade classroom, I have two very different groups of readers. The level instruction must be different and will look different.

This appears to fit with what our District reading guidelines.  As a district, we are moving toward book clubs and conferring in Grades 3 and 4. It is a model that I’ve dabbled in with my third graders – and now it will become more frequent. Our struggling readers receive Tier 3 supports through a pull-out program for 30 minutes a day – that will be their “guided reading”.  Thinking of these two models side-by-side helps me to understand how to differentiate the literacy block for all readers.

Teacher has had an aha moment.

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