In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
I sat and read Reading Ladders Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We’d Like Them to Be by Teri S. Lesesne @professornana from cover to cover. Sometimes I had to adapt and think primary as Teri shared her insights into YA content but overall it was one of those professional books that I appreciated from beginning to end. I initially purchased this book because I appreciate Teri’s insights shared on http://professornana.livejournal.com and secondly because I was hoping to expand my ability to identify the next book for some of my readers who are stuck in that rut… I’ve tried similar themes, genres, and writing style recommendations but they’re just not moving forward from a favorite series or book… I know some children need to reread a book a few times to get it through their system, process it, reflect and notice different nuances throughout but sometimes I want to get that student who is reading Percy Jackson series books to move into the Ranger’s Apprentice series… Sometimes I want to get that student who has read the fantastic Babymouse series three times through to move forward into reading Frankie Pickle or Geronimo Stilton. So I was quite curious about Reading Ladders.
I appreciated the powerful content all the way through this book. Learning another professional’s opinion on how to begin to build lifelong readers, motivate readers, develop and build reading ladders and additionally how to assess those readers was a fascinating experience. Often I’d jump up and say “yes!” that’s exactly what I think too! Other times I’d pause and reflect on another take on reading aloud, book talking, and helping children find the “right” book. My key quote that I’m taking from the book is: “You should aspire to be known as the book person in your classroom and in your school. Be the one who knows the good books and shares them through reading aloud and book talking. Be the person who has those good books in the classroom and how knows how to help students find them in the library as well…”
So, I really took to heart the portion on reading ladders in the book. I appreciated the realization that I already have done reading ladders in practice for years, just didn’t put a name to it. Here’s Teri’s definition of what a reading ladder is: “A reading ladder is a series or set of books that are related in some way and that demonstrate a slow gradual development from simple to more complex.” So I sat back and thought about my tried and true practices of leading students up these reading ladders, my successes and failures. As a primary teacher librarian, I’ve certainly placed the right book in a child’s hand hundreds of times over the years and then anticipated the eventual return of the child that day or a few days after with the “What’s next, I LOVED this book Mrs. Alvarez!” Often I’ve enjoyed connecting students with books of a similar genre or theme and I’ve created numerous bookmarks in the past that work towards these aims. But since I heard of the concept of a reading ladder, I’m constantly thinking of connections between the books and what I’d recommend to a student next to help them grow as a passionate reader.
My push to help children find their love of reading is one where I try to demonstrate balance. Explaining to my students that having a balanced selection of books, series, genres, and writing styles will help them grow as readers. So I think I’m a little bit of a chutes and ladders teacher librarian. Sometimes if I see a student has read Redwall by Brian Jacques, I’ll ask if they’ve enjoyed the graphic novel adaptation or the picture book connected with it before I recommend reading Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel. Other times I’ll notice an older student reading I want my hat back by Jon Klassen and remind them that A Series of Unfortunate Events has a pretty fun dark twisted approach as well. I am always trying to support my student’s reading growth but since I’m in the primary school, I also feel I have the flexibility to embrace the love of reading at many levels and celebrate a students’ opportunity to have a balanced selection while they grow as readers.
Grateful to have the time to sit back and enjoy Reading Ladders and reflect on the ideas within the book treasure. Thank you to Teri S. Lesesne for continuing to blog and inspire as well! She always makes me quietly ponder different educational situations in connection with literacy. I’m looking forward to creating my own official reading ladders.
Here is my first “go” at creating a reading ladder from one of my favorites- novels in verse… it was quite a challenge to limit myself on this creation and actually I only included four of many favorite authors who create pretty incredible novels in verse…
About Pull up a chair, it’s a Saturday Book Share: I’ve had many books I review that I just want to feature. Simple and easy, celebrate a new book encounter. So that’s what Saturday Book Share is about for me, celebrating books! Perhaps some days I’ll share the book with a short reading of a portion. Or perhaps other days I’ll just share a glimpse of the book.
Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader! Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.
What book treasure will you find?