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March 4, 2016

A Practical Guide to Creating Super Readers

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Even after almost 30 years of teaching, I am still on a mission to improve my instructional methods. Like many of you, I attend professional development workshops that help me work toward this goal. I also am on the constant lookout for books to add to my professional library. I take many recommendations from colleagues or sometimes a title will catch my fancy at a teacher’s convention or other professional gathering. The most recent addition to my personal educator's bookshelf is Every Child A Super Reader, by Pam Allyn and Ernest Morrell.

     

    Every Child A Super Reader gives educators fresh and innovative ways of looking at literacy instruction, as well as offering insights on how to reach the struggling, uninterested reader. Simply put, it offers a practical, heartfelt approach to how we teach children to read.

    This book resonates with the underlying concept of building a caring and responsive community using the “7 Strengths Model.” Belonging, curiosity, friendship, kindness, confidence, courage, and hope are the elements that comprise this framework. All are equal in importance as part of the foundation to set up students to become successful, lifelong readers.

    Each of the 7 Strengths is treated separately and augmented with:

    • Online video

    • Focus Lesson Plan

    • Close Reading Lesson 

    • Technology activities

    • Home extension activities

    • Diverse book lists (Found in the Appendix, the book lists are categorized by grade and spans K–2, 3–5, and 6–8. There’s something for everyone!)

     

    Ways to Implement Every Child A Super Reader in Your School

     

    Create a Professional Learning Community (PLC)/Teachers’ Book Club

    This is a great read to share with your colleagues or anyone who is looking for a simple, effective technique to reach all readers. 

    Mentor a New Teacher

    Every Child A Super Reader is very cleanly laid out and extremely accessible. As such, it is a great, easy-to-use instructional tool for new teachers. Included in the book are assessment tools, classroom management ideas, checklists, and a yearlong plan for readers. My student teacher, Ms. Corsini, getting some valuable ideas for reading workshops. I'm sure it will help when she gets her first teaching assignment. 

     

    Family Literacy Activities

    There are so many home extension activities offered, you could choose a few from the book to share with parents in newsletters, or do a full-on presentation at a PTO meeting or at back-to-school night.

    Takeaways

    At first glance, it appeared to me that the book is geared to teachers in the younger grades. But after taking a closer look, it is easy to see how teachers in the upper grades can apply these principles as well. Each principle uses a picture book (upper grades would refer to these as mentor text), and each lesson can be modified to meet the needs of your students.

    My sixth graders love being read to — especially a picture book. It still amazes me that even at their age, they flock to the meeting area and get cozy when it comes time for a read aloud. Added bonus: I get to hone my acting skills and students get to see first-hand how a book comes to life.

    One big takeaway for me as I was reading Every Child A Super Reader, was an emphasis on multiculturalism in the books on the book lists and in the close reading sections. It’s a reminder that when readers can connect and identify with the characters that they are reading, they become more interested in what they are reading. There is a large variety of books that represent all walks of life, and could be incorporated during any cultural events your school might host, including National Hispanic Heritage Month in October or Black History Month in February.

    As I read the book, one passage really stayed with me: “The super reader is a child who enters a text with purpose. Regardless of platform (print or digital) and genre (fiction, informational, or poetry), she reads that text with deep comprehension and finishes it feeling satisfied, informed, and inspired.”

    Isn’t that what we want for our students: to enter a book with purpose and to become inspired by what they have read?

    Scholastic provided this book to me to read, review, and report about how it might be applied in the classroom.

     

    Even after almost 30 years of teaching, I am still on a mission to improve my instructional methods. Like many of you, I attend professional development workshops that help me work toward this goal. I also am on the constant lookout for books to add to my professional library. I take many recommendations from colleagues or sometimes a title will catch my fancy at a teacher’s convention or other professional gathering. The most recent addition to my personal educator's bookshelf is Every Child A Super Reader, by Pam Allyn and Ernest Morrell.

     

    Every Child A Super Reader gives educators fresh and innovative ways of looking at literacy instruction, as well as offering insights on how to reach the struggling, uninterested reader. Simply put, it offers a practical, heartfelt approach to how we teach children to read.

    This book resonates with the underlying concept of building a caring and responsive community using the “7 Strengths Model.” Belonging, curiosity, friendship, kindness, confidence, courage, and hope are the elements that comprise this framework. All are equal in importance as part of the foundation to set up students to become successful, lifelong readers.

    Each of the 7 Strengths is treated separately and augmented with:

    • Online video

    • Focus Lesson Plan

    • Close Reading Lesson 

    • Technology activities

    • Home extension activities

    • Diverse book lists (Found in the Appendix, the book lists are categorized by grade and spans K–2, 3–5, and 6–8. There’s something for everyone!)

     

    Ways to Implement Every Child A Super Reader in Your School

     

    Create a Professional Learning Community (PLC)/Teachers’ Book Club

    This is a great read to share with your colleagues or anyone who is looking for a simple, effective technique to reach all readers. 

    Mentor a New Teacher

    Every Child A Super Reader is very cleanly laid out and extremely accessible. As such, it is a great, easy-to-use instructional tool for new teachers. Included in the book are assessment tools, classroom management ideas, checklists, and a yearlong plan for readers. My student teacher, Ms. Corsini, getting some valuable ideas for reading workshops. I'm sure it will help when she gets her first teaching assignment. 

     

    Family Literacy Activities

    There are so many home extension activities offered, you could choose a few from the book to share with parents in newsletters, or do a full-on presentation at a PTO meeting or at back-to-school night.

    Takeaways

    At first glance, it appeared to me that the book is geared to teachers in the younger grades. But after taking a closer look, it is easy to see how teachers in the upper grades can apply these principles as well. Each principle uses a picture book (upper grades would refer to these as mentor text), and each lesson can be modified to meet the needs of your students.

    My sixth graders love being read to — especially a picture book. It still amazes me that even at their age, they flock to the meeting area and get cozy when it comes time for a read aloud. Added bonus: I get to hone my acting skills and students get to see first-hand how a book comes to life.

    One big takeaway for me as I was reading Every Child A Super Reader, was an emphasis on multiculturalism in the books on the book lists and in the close reading sections. It’s a reminder that when readers can connect and identify with the characters that they are reading, they become more interested in what they are reading. There is a large variety of books that represent all walks of life, and could be incorporated during any cultural events your school might host, including National Hispanic Heritage Month in October or Black History Month in February.

    As I read the book, one passage really stayed with me: “The super reader is a child who enters a text with purpose. Regardless of platform (print or digital) and genre (fiction, informational, or poetry), she reads that text with deep comprehension and finishes it feeling satisfied, informed, and inspired.”

    Isn’t that what we want for our students: to enter a book with purpose and to become inspired by what they have read?

    Scholastic provided this book to me to read, review, and report about how it might be applied in the classroom.

     

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