Creating Readers: Donalyn Miller’s Version and Mine.

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A self-proclaimed “book whisperer,” 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher Donalyn Miller says she has yet to meet a child she couldn’t turn into a reader.

While reading Donalyn Miller’s article, “Creating Readers,” which consisted of Miller’s responses to an array of questions from teachers, to parents, to whomever I couldn’t help but think about my experiences as a reader in school.

I’ll just throw it out there right away: I agree with everything that Miller said. I have always thought that I have loved reading since the day I was born, but Miller brought up several things that got me thinking about how my experience as a reader could have been even better and also helped me to understand why maybe some of my classmates didn’t enjoy reading at all.

Popcorn reading or round robin. Does anyone ever enjoy this?! Miller says that this takes away from students reading comprehension because either the kids are anxiously awaiting their turn to be called on or they are impatiently reading ahead. So true! I agree that if students are reading something as a class it is much more effective for the teacher to read aloud and the students to follow along.

AR Testing. I was never a student to cheat on the AR tests, though I will agree that it would be extremely easy to do so. Who comes up with those questions anyway? I doubt they read the book either. Regardless, Miller brought up a valid point that rings true in my personal experience- I missed out on a lot of books just because there wasn’t an AR test for them.

Content- Smlontent (Who cares?!). Like Miller said, if the boys start reading a book because they think it contains some off-color language let it happen! -At least they are reading! If parents believe that some content of YA lit is too inappropriate for their child they should talk to them first and then decide. I’ve always said that if a kid is reading about sex and drugs they probably aren’t out there partaking in the activities. HELLO, they’re too busy reading! Plus, most YA novels don’t take these subjects lightly or glorify them in any way. So, maybe kids reading about them would help them to think about the decisions they would make in these real-life situations.

This is only a few of the topics that stood out to me from Donalyn Miller’s article. If I were going to be a teacher, I would most definitely implement some of Miller’s teaching techniques in my own classroom.

How do you feel about these topics?

Assessing other bloggers. What to emulate in my own blog.

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The first thing that I noticed about other bloggers (not only in the #kidlitosphere) is the clever, yet informative post titles. I always go for more of an obscure catchy title, but when I look back through my archives, it’s hard to find that one post, especially without the help of hashtags or categories; which brings me to my next point.

I NEED to use more hashtags and organize my posts into more specific categories. This is how other bloggers and readers can find my blog. Which is important, not only for my stats, but also because traffic to your blog means more feedback and we all know, feedback is what makes us better writers.

Bloggers in the #kidlitosphere know the importance of a short paragraph. Posts should never be too long, but if I have a ton of information to get down into a single post, you better believe I am going to break it up a lot! Long paragraphs are not aesthetically pleasing for blog readers. Blogs should be short, sweet, and informative.

USE PICTURES. And use them with intention. If it doesn’t add to the content of the blog and is more of a distraction, just leave it out. But mostly, USE PICTURES.

I also want to emulate others’ blogs by doing a bit more research before I post, to get the best links and videos and other tools to make my blog well-rounded.

I try to make my blog sound as conversational as possible. Reading a formal blog is like reading a research paper. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Finally, I want to participate in more memes and challenges to really make my way into the blogging community. Right now I am only a blogger outside of city limits.

I’ve noticed a lot of  the blogs in the #kidlitosphere are geared more towards teaching; however, and I’ve stated this many times before on my blog, I am not a teacher nor am I going to be. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t learn something useful from these other bloggers both for myself as a reader and to pass a long to others.

I am a reader

5055236689_4324d5a6c2_oMy life as a reader began at a very young age because my mother would read to me. I loved how she tried to change her voice for the different characters and always let me turn the page.

th-10Likewise, seeing my mother read on her own really made me want to read on my own too. She looked so relaxed and intrigued by her books. I wanted to feel that way.

th-9I took my reading life a bit further by going to the library in the summers for different activities and story time. I became really close with the librarians and who doesn’t remember the time they got their very own library card? I felt so grown up!

Elizabeth_Adela_Forbes_-_School_Is_Out_1889School has definitely  had a huge impact on my life as a reader. Still to this day, educators teach me how to be a better reader and why reading is not only important but really fun.

girl,painting,sleeping,book,flower,reading-d98de33061b00d2c076dbb929cb2dceb_hI can see my future as a reader too. Once I graduate I will continue to read to educate myself. I will read for my own pleasure. I will read to my children as my mother read to me. I will write for others to read and hopefully I will inspire someone to feel the same way that I do.

Angler Update

forgot to post this roughly one month ago ):

I have been M.I.A. from the blog, but I that’s only because I was “gone fishin’!”

I haven’t been out much this summer (those office jobs will do that to ya), but I do have an update on the angling part of my life.

I caught the first of my four fish for my cutt-slam!

I bought my boyfriend a Tenkara rod for his birthday which is what I caught my Yellowstone on. For those of you who are not familiar, a Tenkara rod is a telescopic rod. Before I embarrass myself by trying to explain the technicalities of this rod by comparing it to a telescope, just go look it up. It’s awesome!

Anyway, we were in out beloved Big Horn Mountains and it was my first cast of the day. Enough said.

one down. three to go!

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Top 15 Favorite Caldecott’s

One Cool Friend

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My favorite part of this book was the illustrations. They weren’t anything too complex, in fact they were basically composed of squiggles and shading, but that’s my favorite type of illustration because I can do that too! I also really like how thoughts and dialogue were distinguished with the use of thought and speech bubbles.

Creepy Carrots

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Again, I really liked the illustrations of this book and the use of color to point out important subjects of the story. I thought this book would end with the stalking carrots were just in Jasper’s imagination, making the story a tale for children to relate to whenever they were scared of something, but that was not the case. I don’t think it’s too scary for children, but it is creepy.

Green

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Green is now my favorite color! Gorgeous canvas artwork for a very simple book.

Nana in the City

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Is it sad to say that this book made my top 15 because of Nana’s cats?! I also think that this book exemplifies that giving a child a little boost of confidence, whether through a pep talk or a brave, red cape, can really change their negative outlooks into positive ones.

Viva Frida

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There is so much to appreciate about this book. The illustrations were interesting, part clay animation with a Frida doll in different positions, and part beautiful water colors drawings. Frida’s life story was told in so few words, and it works because the words that Morales chose are so packed with meaning.

Time Flies

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No words. A present-day bird in a dinosaur museum. Was it Ben Stiller inspired book or was it all in the birds imagination. It’s up to the readers/viewers interpretation.

Extra Yarn

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I’ve actually read this book before and I adore it every time.  It’s not a story about a magical box of yarn, it’s a story about how one little girl can bring so much color and wonder into the world. Kindness and generosity will always trump greed.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

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This last page is my favorite part of this book! I can just imagine reading this to children and watching their excitement and frustration with Sam and Dave as they dig in the wrong direction every time. Fun book!

Flora and the Flamingo

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I think that wordless books are becoming my favorite books. Why not let the children make up their own stories? It’s a great way for them to use their imaginations in a literary way.

Journey

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AGAIN, no words!! I loved how imaginative the illustrations were, but I appreciated them even more when I read the little blurb about the author at the end. You can definitely see that Becker’s love of history and travel really influences his work.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

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Though the thought of my future child having an imaginary friend scares me (I’m not sure why) I thought that this story was very cute. I’ve never thought about the imaginary friend seeking out the real-world child before.

Sector 7

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David Weisner’s artwork is so stunning that no words are needed to tell this story about a boy’s imaginary world where clouds are created.

My Friend Rabbit

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This story is perfect for teaching children patience when it comes to their friendships. They may have a clumsy friend like rabbit, but they have to learn to stay calm and be patient even if trouble seems inevitable.

Blackout

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This story is a precious reminder for us all to take time out of routine to just be close to one another and to not let the business and loudness take over our entire lives. Plus, I loved the graphic novel like layout of this one.

A Ball for Daisy

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I couldn’t say it better than the jacket description: “This is the story of a dog and her ball. Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka brings us a tender and beautiful WORDLESS picture book about what it’s like to lose something special – and find a friend.” This book reminded me of my first day of school when I wasn’t allowed to take my blanket. We all have these objects that bring us comfort, but we soon realize that true friendship isn’t always tangible.