Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Disrupting Thinking Takeaways

This summer I read a handful of professional books. Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters left the biggest impression on me. The book is structured by 3 main sections: the readers we want, the framework we use, and the changes we must embrace.  I was worried this book would be heavily focused on intermediate grades where students read to learn instead of learning to read.  However, I was pleasantly surprised how Beers and Probst illustrated how each topic or idea could be applied across grade levels.

What is the purpose of reading this book?
Beers and Probst challenge several classroom practices such as whole class novels, classroom libraries only containing leveled book bins, and reading to answer specific questions.  They want it to be better by helping students become responsive, responsible, and compassionate readers.  In order to do this, Beers and Probst say we need to be brave, open, connected and get uncomfortable.  Below are some takeaways that I had that can be applied to my Kindergarten classroom:

1. Creating Joyful Readers
The beginning of chapter 1 saddened me.  Although I was not surprised that children read less as they get older.  It also seems that as the demands increase, the purpose for reading changes and students refer to reading as "dumb" or "boring".  In today's society, students need to do more than answer questions.  Instead, they should be asking the questions.

"If the reader isn't responsive, if she doesn't let the text awaken emotion or inspire thoughts, then she can barely be said to be reading at all." (Beers and Probst, 2017, p. 28)  Responsive readers are the goal.

2. Choice
"Their choice will not have been guided by a reading level, but by interest.... choice means choice."  There are so many classroom libraries that only consist of leveled book bins.  While this is a strategy practical for guided reading, students can learn strategies such as the 5 finger rule to pick books.  As an adult, we do not go to a leveled section at a library.  In fact, I doubt many adults know their reading level.  Only reading books from a leveled bin will not create passionate readers.

3. Helping Kids Spot Fake News
Responsible reading is a critical skill.  Many adults get their news from social media when they need quick access.  If we don't teach students to read responsibly, then they could harm others by sharing inaccurate information.  With all of the comments and likes, readers assume it is the real thing.  Beers and Probst encourage us to teach readers to do 3 things as they read the news:
--How does it look?
--What does it say?
--How does it make me feel?

4. Book, Head, Heart framework
This direct and simple framework keeps kids focused on their thinking.  Learning to pay attention to the text is a necessary skill.  I plan on using this in my Kindergarten classroom, but modifying it a bit to meet their needs.  I love this section because Beers and Probst provide examples for various grade levels, which makes this framework relatable for educators.
--Notice and Note signposts (this is another book they wrote)
--Somebody Wanted But So
--Sketch to Stretch
--Fix Up Charts

--What surprised you?
--What did the author think you already knew?
--What changed, challenged or confirmed your thinking?

Elements associated with the text such as values, attitudes, and beliefs.
--What did this text help me learn about myself?
--What did this text help me learn about others?
--How has this text changed my thinking about the world?
--How will my actions or feelings change as a result of reading this text?
--Does this text offer me any of my own Aha moments?  Any tough questions?  Perhaps my own words of the wiser?

I can't say enough positive things about Disrupting Thinking and hope all educators take the time to read this book.

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