Saturday, August 10, 2013

More Than Guided Reading


It is always nice to read a professional book that follows your own philosophies for reading and writing. In Cathy Mere's book, More Than Guided Reading, she demonstrates a seamless pairing of teaching strategies while also merging guided reading into the mix. I have struggled over the years trying to define how these two types of teaching work together. Thank you Cathy for showing me that I haven't been doing it wrong. It seems that all too often there are educators on one side or the other. Teach strategies....no, no do guided reading and back and forth it goes. It can all be balanced and it can include things like poetry and tie into the reading and writing link that we all know exists but is too often separated. What I took away from Cathy's book was to follow your heart and the hearts of your students. Tune into their needs and teach them. "Reading makes readers." (pg. 142) This also happens to be the last statement of the book and it all builds to this message. Reading is not a race or a teacher's nightmare it is an opportunity to learn about our students and take them further. It is not about teaching kids to reach the next reading level it is about teaching readers to love reading. If you haven't read Cathy's book and struggle to find the balance between these two very important means of teaching students I would highly recommend that you get it now and share it with your colleagues. Then put the balance into practice and watch your students thrive.

3 comments:

Cathy said...

Betsy,
I always get a little nervous when someone I know is reading the book. I want them to find it interesting or at least helpful in some way. It's a little scary to have your words locked down in a moment in time in the world. It was such a challenge to write (yes, I was probably a little in over my head). Yet, I hoped it would start a conversation. I must say that you have made me smile time and time again with quotes and comments as you read.

There are opportunities to teach readers (and writers...and mathematicians and scientists for that matter) across our day. It's one of the gifts of a self-contained classroom. You said, "I have struggled over the years trying to define how these two types of teaching work together. It can all be balanced and it can include things like poetry and tie into the reading and writing link that we all know exists but is too often separated. " I couldn't agree with you more --- though some days it is easier than others. :o)

I'm going to take this quote and hang it in my closet this school year to remind me of what really matters, "Follow your heart and the hearts of your students." As I sit and think about the new community of learners about to join me for the school year, your quote reminds me they will be a little different from last year's group. They'll find different things important. They'll love different books. They'll have different strengths. You remind me to find what matters to them and work from there.

Thanks for adding to the conversation. I'm always happy to have colleagues who help me figure things out. I'm so glad we were able to meet at #nerdcampBC and look forward to the conversations to come.

Thanks so much, Betsy,
Cathy

LInda Baie said...

Thanks for a further explanation about Cathy's book, Betsy. It sounds like good support for those struggling with integration of reading throughout all the day. I like your words: "Tune into their needs and teach them." If we are really 'seeing' our students, things will work & work well.

Loralee said...

I'm rereading Cathy's book this summer...
I so love it...
It's helpful and comforting!