I'm currently working my way through The Daily 5 by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser for the second time this summer. I read it first on my own, and am now participating in a book study with other teachers from my grade level team and around the country. Chapter 1 was due yesterday and it has been so helpful to read the thoughts and suggestions from others on the blog set up for this book study.
I appreciated the Sisters' honesty throughout this chapter, outlining their progress from teacher-centered to student-centered instruction within their literacy curriculum. I could match myself up to many of their experiences, feeling like I began the year on a much more teacher-centered mark than I ended it on. My understanding of and comfort level with guided reading grew greatly over the course of the year, allowing my reading instruction to improve tremendously from day 1 to day 180.
I identified closely with a question the sisters posed within this chapter: "Did things just keep the kids busy, or were they engaged in literacy tasks that will make a difference in their literate lives?" I'm afraid that too often during the last year I was providing activities to students that, although aligned with our content standards and centered on reading strategies, were not truthfully improving them as readers. I am eager for that to change this school year.
A second point I took from this chapter was the importance of explicit teaching and practicing of behaviors. I have read this idea and understood it from many sources, but few as directly related to reading instruction. Practicing each behavior and expectation until they become habits will help reduce the interruptions each of us face within the classroom due to off-task behavior. How helpful that will be!
I am eager to continue rereading this book with a critical eye, knowing that my literacy instruction is going to be greatly benefited by both my own reflections and reading the thoughts of others.