❮Read❯ ➹ The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers ➼ Author Nancie Atwell – Motyourdrive.co.uk



10 thoughts on “The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers

  1. says:

    If you had observed these students on any other occasion in their waking lives say, yesterday at recess as they shot hoops, exchanged iPods, teased, and screamed it might be hard to reconcile that noise with this quiet But here, in reading workshop, it s dead silent because my kids are gone Each boy and girl has vanished into an invisible world Each, as they put it, is lost in the reading zone It s a wonderful book for a teachers handbook, almost utopian What s the secret of a successful reading workshop It seems simple frequent and voluminous reading that requires undisturbed reading time What s the teacher s role Letting the kids read Atwell quotes Robertson Davies The goal is to read for pleasure, but not for idleness for pastime but not to kill time to seek, and find, delight and enlargement of life in books In her classes, there are no worksheets, no vocabulary building exercises, no reading activities , only time and silence to read, free conversation about books, recommendations and encouragement.Nancie Atwell understands what reading is That simple.I loved The Reader s Bill of Rights the right to skip pages, the right not to finish, the right to reread, the right to read anything, the right to read anywhere, the right to not defend your taste, etc., just as well the Rules for Reading Workshop In this book, Atwell reveals how she talks about book with her students booktalk , how she communicates with parents, how she recommends books, the importance of one to one conversations, and she destroys the boys don t like to read myth I didn t know it existed, but still.From all of the how to teach reading books I ve read it was one of the most inspiring one.


  2. says:

    This is a book that describes how to create passionate readers The focus in on students around middle school age One section that I liked was the chapter specifically looked at boys It provides an indepth look at one boy who many would not imagine could be passionate about reading Cam comes from a working class family He s an athlete, and loves dirt biking and racing The author, his teacher, finds books that Cam loves and over time he becomes an avid reader and writer Atwell dismisses a long list of stereotypes about boys and their disdain of reading These include boys don t like fiction because they find it hard to imagine fictional worlds they prefer non fiction they think reading is a sissy thing , they had to read magazines, comics and sports pages because they have a short attention span It is important that Atwell challenges these stereotypes that unfortunately influence teachers views of boys Sadly, according to Atwell, when students enter high school, their joy of reading is soon squelched Assigned reading, reading a chapter at a time and then having to answer questions or take a test Atwell hopes that these students will be able to survive these 4 years and continue to love to read.


  3. says:

    This book made me want to cry because it gave me permission to be the kind of reading teacher I want to be, the kind who helps kids find books that they will love so that they will grow to be reader I tried this approach with my reluctant, below grade level readers this year, and I am thrilled to say that a majority who have hated reading all their lives now get upset with me when they don t have a chance to read I ve worked my hiney off to find books that they ll love, but it is so worth it Thank you Nancie


  4. says:

    The Reading Zone sets itself up as a manifesto The answer to its subtitle, How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers, could be neatly summed up with one word choice Following a quick tour of her hushed classroom nineteen students reading nineteen books Nancie Atwell makes the declaration of principle that is this brief but powerful work s raison d etre The only surefire way to induce a love of books is to invite students to select their own Further, starting in kindergarten and going straight through until the end of high school, free choice of books should be a young reader s right, not a privilege granted by a kind teacher And if you haven t gotten the idea, Atwell explicitly states this book is nothing less than a manifesto Agree or disagree, Atwell certainly makes you examine your own priorities and those of our educational system While raising the caveat that perhaps there is no one surefire way when it comes to children and literacy, I ll join the cause I ve seen curiosity about, and enthusiasm for reading stifled by assigned books and reams of seatwork from worksheets to dioramas I ve seen kids learn to hate books I love, as the joy of discovery is drained away by study guides and overanalyzation I agree with author Jon Scieszka , picked by the Library of Congress to be last year s national ambassador for young people s literature It s so concrete that we can just give boys books that they enjoy and not try to force them to read other books that we enjoy I came to The Reading Zone after it was cited in a New York Times article had me cheering, about the reading workshop approach that Atwell, and Lucy Calkins of the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University s Teachers College, have developed Although I m dubious when the words research shows crop up, or statistics are employed without citation, my gut, and common sense, tells me to buy into Atwell s claim that the single activity that correlates with high levels of performance on standardized tests of reading ability is frequent, voluminous reading Atwell not only makes a strong case for giving kids choices She also insists that teachers be readers themselves, and conversant with what kids are reading, so they can guide their students to the books that will engage them She helps guide those teachers with many references to authors and novels that pepper the text of The Reading Zone Additionally, she points to the reading lists put together by the students at her school, the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Maine These are invaluable surveys of what is happening in children s and young adult literature Teachers will find lots of practical and down to earth advice on how to run reading workshops, from the logistics of classroom lending libraries to book talks and assessment methods Any book with a cover picturing a boy in the reading zone, comfortably ensconced in a classroom overflowing with books, avidly reading one of the novels in one of my favorite series, the Tomorrow books by John Marsden, has got to be basically all right.But there were some aspects of The Reading Zone that troubled me Shortly after making her initial bold argument that free choice of books should be a young reader s right, Atwell quotes Frank Smith Children know how to comprehend, provided they are in a situation that has the possibility of making sense to them Readers familiar with the reading wars of past decades they were supposed to be over, I thought will recognize that Smith as one of the founders and chief proponents of the whole language movement It s disingenuous of Atwell not to acknowledge this, and to implicitly dismiss, as she does at several points in The Reading Zone, the opposing school of thought.The subtext of Smith s words is that reading is, analogous to Noam Chomsky s theory of universal grammar, a skill with which we are born To say this is a view that has been discredited is perhaps too strong, but it is easy to make the case that in the last couple of decades much evidence has come forth that at the least puts such an outlook in serious doubt.The reason why people began looking for that evidence was because, despite immersion in great literature from the earliest age, it is clear that some children still have difficulty learning to read There has been a plethora of books and articles advocating explicit and systematic reading instruction, from neuroscientists like Sally Shaywitz to educators like G Reid Lyon and Louisa Moats.Yet when Atwell rightly asserts that teachers should read about teaching reading, it is as if those works had never been published Instead, her recommended list is very one sided, including such paragons of whole language as Kenneth Goodman and Regie Routman My own experience over the last thirteen years helping poor readers overcome their difficulties tells me that throwing children into an ocean of books, and assuming they will swim, means that some will drown Reading is than a psycholinguistic guessing game It s wonderful how often children are able to put together all the clues, Atwell tells us, and read the correct word the next time through For a poor reader who sees others automatically reading words the first time through, it can also be frustrating Atwell dismisses those who choose to define reading as the pronunciation of nonsense syllables in isolation I m not sure anyone defines reading that way Learning how to decode print, however, which might involve reading nonsense words, can be liberating for a poor reader.Beneath Atwell s passionate and heartfelt thesis is a vein of dogmatism that is unsettling She says kids should have choices, but won t let them choose books of which she doesn t approve, like teen celebrity bios Atwell is negative about teaching comprehension strategies for fiction, such as those in Ellin Keene and Susan Zimmerman s great Mosaic of Thought She refers to Louise Rosenblatt s two modes of reading efferent, where we are garnering specific information, and aesthetic, where we are living through a story But as Atwell herself points out, these are parallel frames of mind, existing on a continuum That gets at the crux of my problem with the otherwise excellent The Reading Zone The learning process is not black and white There is a time and a place to read fiction in an efferent mode, and to read nonfiction in an aesthetic mode Children should be given freedom to choose books that lead to enthusiastic reading Children should learn effective strategies to develop into good readers and critical thinkers These should, and can be parallel avenues toward producing successful readers and successful members of society If we limit education by restricting pedagogy to one correct school of thought, we are limiting learners and teachers.


  5. says:

    I wish all curriculum coordinators and administrators would read this book I want to go to her school and teach there She advocates for frequent voluminous reading with students choosing their own books and reading at their own pace This is how I want to teach reading, but find it difficult due to time constraints and administrator constraints I think what she says makes perfect sense you become a better reader by reading, just like you become a better basketball player by playing basketball My copy of the book is punctuated with YES , Right On Absolutely all over the margins, and I ve highlighted all the research she refers to I especially appreciate some of the techniques she s used in her own classroom, and why she s modified some of them from her early teaching days.


  6. says:

    I had the great pleasure of having to read this book for one of my graduate classes at NYU, and it has since become somewhat of a Bible for me to which I still constantly refer the creases in the cover prove it It is an absolute must read for English teachers, Reading teachers,librarians particularly those of the YA variety , or anyone interested in discovering how to reach the mind of the adolescent reader, providing ideas, templates, and a complete breakdown of how Atwell, a true master, organizes and implements her reading classroom Although it does provide some of the same information as Atwell s opus In the Middle and written in the same refreshing, intimate, narrative style that I adore of Atwell , The Reading Zone is considerably shorter, focused, and a quick yet incredibly informative read.


  7. says:

    Thank you, Nancie Atwell, for recharging my batteries This book had a lot of philosophical similarities to Donalyn Miller s The Book Whisperer, but it had enough differences to make it interesting can t wait to discuss it w my PD group What it comes down to is this if your reading instruction isn t creating lifelong passionate readers, it s not worth much The part I find the hardest is that I m expected to have grades in the gradebook, and it s not always easy to translate this philosophy of teaching reading with getting grades in the gradebook Creativity and flexibility will be my guides


  8. says:

    Where to begin In 2007, the economy of the United States crashed, beginning what is now commonly called The Great Recession In 2008, the federal government borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars as a part of the Investment and Recovery Act, or something like that it s ususally called the Stimulus Many of these billions of dollars were then put on a baited hook known as Race to the Top, RTTT which is a menu of Washington approved educational reforms that states could adopt if they wanted some of the this stimulus money My state, of course, bit down hard, as eventually did 45 other states One of the most important parts of RTTT is a national curriculum called The Common Core The Common Core is revolutionary for the first time in American history, we have a national set of reading and math frameworks that each and every child in public school will be expected to learn We will all be taking common tests, and having apples to apples comparisons with regard to reading and math scores across states Teachers will also have some percentage of their evaluations reflect the test scores of their students, which is another RTTT initiative, as is the expansion of charter schools As an ELA teacher, the biggest shift for my colleagues and I is the de emphasis on teaching and using fiction in our classes At my grade level 6 about 50% of what my students are expected to read now is nonfiction By the time my students are in 12th grade, they will be assigned around 70% nonfiction Reading instruction K 5 is changing, too, and becoming much rigorous and challenging In my district, same grade teachers are increasinlgy expected to teach the same books, use the same curricular units, and create common tests and assessments Now, maybe you like all of this After all, American public schools are not doing a great job, right Kids are leaving school and going on to do terribly in college, if they make it to college at all And, really think about the teens and young adults that you know in your life Would the terms intellectually curious or really knowledgeable honestly apply to them Most likely not So in a great quivering fit of Someone do something the federal government has given us this package of reforms And now here we are, being told that reading is really a science, that the key to developing good readers is standardization, and that fiction is far less important to the future of our country than nonfiction Hope and change, my people Welcome to the United States of Omerica Nancy Atwell, the author of this book as well as the brilliant In the Middle, which helped me decide to become a middle school teacher to begin with , disagrees Crazily, Ms Atwell thinks that in order to develop adolescents into skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers we should hang on, here is comes let them read a lot Of books Mostly fiction That we as teachers should read a lot, too, and be knowledgeable about the kinds of books kids might like That would should have large libraries in our classrooms, and in our schools, and in our communities, so that kids have lots and lots of books to choose from And radical idea here Ms Atwell seems downright convinced that if you like to read, you ll read and get better at it She says I m going to whisper now so no one hears me that kids can pick their own books to read, and that they will be likely to become lovers of reading if they are allowed to actually do so In school During the day This so called love of reading will help them in all of thier classes It s better for our democracy It helps us to become human Reading books A lot of books Revolutionary.I have put many of Ms Atwell s ideas in place in my classroom over the years, and I have been rewarded, time and time again, by parents and students telling me that they the children finally enjoy reading There is nothing gratifying to me as a teacher That s why I am here I am the Johnny Appleseed of reading I love to read, I love to talk about books with my students, and I know that Ms Atwell, and I, are right Unfortunately, we live in Omerica now Welcome to the Collective You WILL be assimilated Race to the Top represents everything I hate about Washington DC, the federal government, the Democratic Party, and collectivism Many states are already trying to pull the RTTT hook out of their mouths my beloved Commonwealth of Massachusetts will not join them, I am sure but it may be too late Elections have consequences, my friends, and you get what you vote for The GOP, to their credit which isn t saying much in this day and age has already put an anti Common Core plank in their platform I don t have high hopes that any of this will change, and I will continue to do what I think is best for the students I teach each year Reading books Books that you like Enter into what Atwell calls The Reading Zone Let freedom ring.


  9. says:

    There are so many snippets of wisdom that I underlined in this book I completely, fully agree with everything Nancie Atwell has to say about developing passionate lifelong readers Just some of her thoughts Do not risk ruining the reading of stories by teaching children to focus on how they re processing them For students of every ability and background, it s the simple, miraculous act of reading a good book that turns them into readers, because even for the least experienced, most reluctant reader, it s the ONE GOOD BOOK that changes everything The job of adults who care about reading is to move heaven and earth to put that book into a child s hands If educators can agree that a goal of education is for children to become skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers, why does so much of what goes on in the name of teaching reading PREVENT such reading from happening Abandoning a book that a reader isn t enjoying is viewed as a smart move, not a character defect Discussing chunk at a time reading assignments Imagine the impact on us if this were the way we had to endure another narrative art form, the movies Instead of disappearing into the black cocoon of a theater, living inside a film, letting the experience of it settle within us, then formulating a response to the vision of its writer and director, what if we had to anticipate the approach of an authority figure who, every fifteen minutes, turned off the projector, threw up the houselights, gave us a quiz, and called on us to participate in a discussion of the movie so far I don t think many of us would come to appreciate the emotional and intellectual power of a great visual story.


  10. says:

    Another day, another book about reading I m 3 for 3 this week Along with Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle, Nancie Atwell is one of the G.O.A.T.s of the English teacher world The Reading Zone was especially interesting to read after Readicide since Gallagher openly takes issue with Atwell s negative view of doing English in that one But these three books definitely build on each other Gallagher and Kittle s work owes a lot to Atwell, and my work owes a lot to all three.This was another one that I planned to skim for research purposes and ended up reading cover to cover, taking tons of screenshots along the way I mean, I did skim parts, but as Atwell herself would tell her students, good readers know when to speed up, slow down, skim, look ahead, and abandon books.


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