Over the past month or so, we’ve been on a mission to really identify what we enjoy reading and how we can gain greater meaning or understanding from texts. From character analysis and making connections between events in texts to our lives; to searching for themes that speak to greater societal realities, we’ve been looking at what we are reading in the hopes that they may inspire us towards being better people. Now some of us enjoy light reads that make us laugh and think about ideas that may be totally out of our realm of reality. The beauty in these reads is that they elevate our spirit and increase our imagination, which may be just what we need at that time.
As we started reading individually and sharing our texts with one another, I realized that there were great conversations and connections being made between texts and lived experiences. Some students found themselves or their friends or family members on the pages of the texts and some found that the scenarios in some texts reminded them of familiar experiences. This made me think of the value that comes from students – or even adults – reading a text together and drawing out some of this work through rich conversations. So this past week, we started book talks.
Students had the opportunity to select from a choice of 5 books that I thought would be of interest to them based on what they were reading over the past month. Having submitted their top 3 book selections, the difficult task was organizing the groups; creating their reading schedule; and determining assignments that might be engaging and promote discussions about the books. The goal is to hopefully have our work completed by the time we start March break so we’ve got 2 weeks to go and things have started off really nicely.
On Day 1, many groups decided to start off with reading and to jump into making predictions through the use of Padlet. They discussed and made inferences based on the blurb, images from the text and what they read in the first few pages and determined what they thought the text would be about and from whose perspective the text may be written. Today, some groups decided to search for a quote that had a deeper meaning that could be applied to our lives while others took some time to visualize the setting and drew a scene. It’s inspiring not only to see students helping each other out with pronouncing and/or making meaning from new or unfamiliar words but there is also a true sense of collaboration as they work understand the text and in the completion of tasks. They may not necessarily be in groups with their friends but they are making new friendships as they work together and learn from and about each other.
Amazingly as I was planning this out for my students and realizing the benefit of having a community of readers collaborating to learn together, Joanne Languay shared a flyer about ETFO’s Online Book Clubs. They run from April 1st to 28th and are a great way to engage in some incredible resources that are sure to inspire. There’s even one on the Heart and Art of Teaching and Learning. Take a look at the flyer and consider joining!