Sneak Peek at Chapter #5: How Do I Shift Agency to Students, Engaging and Empowering Them as Readers?

The fifth chapter in Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading discusses how teachers can make a shift from a teacher-centered reading classroom to a student-centered one.

Agency refers to people making their own independent choices and acting of their own free will to complete tasks and solve problems. In the reading classroom agency is something teachers can support students in building over time.” (pg. 128). When students are agentive readers, they choose their own reading material, make productive choices with where to read, engage in thinking and conversations around their reading, and tackle problem solving when issues or roadblocks arise. Supporting students in building their own agency as readers is a process that takes place overtime, and will likely look different with each student in your classroom. Chapter five will help with this.

Chapter five offers answers to the following questions about shifting agency to students.

Building Agency Resource Right Now

One of my favorite ways to give students more decision-making power, which builds agency in the classroom, is to invite them to play a role in the way the classroom library is organized. A small but mighty way to start to do this is to invite students to create book boxes for the classroom library.

These book boxes were created by students in Haley Harrier’s
first grade classroom and my own fifth grade classroom (pg. 136)

Offering students opportunities to play a role in the organization of the classroom library gives them decision making power and send the message that the teacher trusts them to make choices about their learning.

In addition to making decisions and choices about how the library is organized, teachers can also offer students decision making power in other ways, both big and small: from suggesting a small group lesson topic (pg. 136) to selecting a reading space in the classroom (pg. 132), the possibilities are really endless!

One misconception about offering students choice and decision making power is that it’s a free-for-all that can easily turn into chaos. A key idea to keep in mind is that choice is not necessarily unlimited. Students will need guidance and support when they are first starting to make choices and decisions in the classroom. It’s a messy but beautiful process! This idea is further explained throughout the pages of chapter five.

All posts in this sneak peek blog series can be found linked here. Learn even more about Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading by clicking here.

_______________________________________________________________
Looking for literacy PD? I’m available for on-site, in-school, and virtual summer 2022 professional development sessions around all topics and needs in K-6 literacy education. Booking is also available for select dates during the 2022-23 school year and beyond. Learn more here or contact cnosekliteracy@gmail.com to get started. I’d love to work with you and your teachers! -Christina

Sneak Peek at Chapter #4: How Do I Use Assessment in the Service of Students?

The fourth chapter in Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading describes specific ways in which teachers can use assessment to serve students.

The wording of the title of this chapter title and the focus throughout were very intentional. Chapter four is about the specific types of assessment that directly serve students when continually and thoughtfully implemented by teachers. Formative assessment, which is assessment that directly informs teacher decision making about instruction, is the focus. There are many different types of formative assessment that teachers use for different purposes on an ongoing basis in the classroom. Chapter four takes a deep dive into many of them.

Chapter four introduces and explains answers to the following questions about how to use formative assessment in the service of students.

Formative Assessment Resource Right Now

Reframing teacher thinking and language to notice what students are doing rather than what they aren’t doing, supports asset-based assessment and instruction. Too often, much of the focus in schools is on what students can’t do. In chapter four, I offer some tips and shifts in thinking/language to support teachers in moving toward an asset-based assessment focus to center what students can do and build from there. Consider these language and thought swaps to start thinking about assessment and instruction from an asset-based perspective. Not only do the language swaps shift to an asset focus, but they also include actionable steps the teacher can take to support each reader.

from Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading, pg. 108

To learn more about switching to an asset-based assessment and instruction focus, check out these page previews of chapter four.

All posts in this sneak peek blog series can be found linked here. Learn even more about Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading by clicking here.

_______________________________________________________________
Looking for literacy PD? I’m available for on-site, in-school, and virtual summer 2022 professional development sessions around all topics and needs in K-6 literacy education. Booking is also available for select dates during the 2022-23 school year and beyond. Learn more here or contact cnosekliteracy@gmail.com to get started. I’d love to work with you and your teachers! -Christina

Sneak Peek at Chapter #2: How Do I Structure, Organize, and Plan my Reading Instruction?

The second chapter in Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading explains structuring, planning, and organizing reading instruction.

A challenging aspect of reading instruction that is often overlooked and underestimated is planning! For newer teachers, teachers who switch grade levels, and even veterans, making decisions about structuring, planning, and organizing reading time and instruction can be a bit overwhelming at times. Structuring, planning, and organizing classroom space and time are important initial and ongoing steps to creating a nurturing and intellectually stimulating reading environment.

Chapter two is comprised of answers to the following questions about structuring, organizing, and planning reading instruction.

Structuring, Planning, & Organizing Resource Right Now

An integral part of planning reading instruction includes setting up a reading-focused classroom environment that is comfortable, practical, flexible, and highly functional. Many different aspects of reading instruction take place in different parts of the classroom, so it is important to intentionally plan out how the space will be set-up. For example, whole group instruction will likely be located in a different space than small group instruction. Also, elementary students do not sit in a desk all day long. They need to move, sit, stand, walk, crouch, and sometimes even lay on floor to engage in different types of reading work. Most importantly, how will you set up or refresh your classroom library so students have easy access to books, and so those books stay organized? The video here is a partial tour of my own 5th grade reading-centered classroom to offer a few ideas.

Seeking out more classroom set-up ideas and support? My dear friend and colleague Haley also provides a tour of her 1st grade reading centered classroom in chapter two of Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading. Chapter two also shows classroom diagrams and offers more ideas for setting up your classroom and your classroom library!

All posts in this sneak peek blog series can be found linked here. Learn even more about Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading by clicking here.

_______________________________________________________________
Looking for literacy PD? I’m available for on-site, in-school, and virtual summer 2022 professional development sessions around all topics and needs in K-6 literacy education. Booking is also available for select dates during the 2022-23 school year and beyond. Learn more here or contact cnosekliteracy@gmail.com to get started. I’d love to work with you and your teachers! -Christina

Sneak Peek at Chapter #1: How Do I Build and Maintain a Reading Community?

The first chapter in Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading focuses on building and maintaining a classroom reading community.

Before students can deeply engage in the challenging yet exhilarating work of solving words, making meaning, and authentically interacting with text, they need to feel safe, welcome, and ready to take risks in the classroom. A surefire way to supporting students in doing this is through intentionally working toward building a thriving and continually growing classroom community of readers. Many factors and conditions intentionally set in place play a role in creating and maintaining a reading community.

Chapter one is comprised of answers to the following questions about building and maintaining a reading community.

Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading, Chapter 1 Contents, pg. ix

Community Building Resource Right Now

One way to to start to build or continue to maintain your classroom reading community is to set students up for success in discussions and partnership/group talk. Directly teaching students how conversation works or offering reminders can improve the level of conversation students engage in around reading and books. Take a look at the student-led partnership/group discussion tips in the box below. Click on the image for a larger/printable view.

More community building methods, routines, and tips can be found throughout chapter one! The next post in this series will offer a sneak peek at chapter two, How Do I Structure, Organize, and Plan my Reading Instruction?

All posts in this sneak peek blog series can be found linked here. Learn even more about Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Elementary Reading by clicking here.

_______________________________________________________________
Looking for literacy PD? I’m available for on-site, in-school, and virtual summer 2022 professional development sessions around all topics and needs in K-6 literacy education. Booking is also available for select dates during the 2022-23 school year and beyond. Learn more here or contact cnosekliteracy@gmail.com to get started. I’d love to work with you and your teachers! -Christina