This post is a follow up to a post I wrote in the fall titled: From Here. For it to make sense, it is important to visit the original post. But I will summarize all the same.
In September, with my new class Grade 2/3s, I very quickly realized that we had a huge mountain to climb. A mountain of words and stories that needed to become our own.
From the original post:
“And . . . (I am not going to write but) many children (more than half) in my new classroom are not reading even close to grade level “expectations.” This, I was not fully prepared for. Not to this extent, not so many children.”
I named what I observed:
- They aren’t independent.
- They desperately want to be.
- They don’t identify as readers.
- They can’t self select titles that correspond to their levels.
- They need to be reading and they aren’t and this is not okay.
I felt a lot of things.
“I feel angry and I am not going to elaborate on what I know has gone wrong. I feel worried. I feel little moments of desperate. This isn’t grade 1 where my task is to grow readers from non readers. This is grade 2 and 3 where I must now grow readers and play all kinds of catch up. I feel responsible. But most importantly, I feel urgent. And this is what I celebrate – the urgency of my task. The advocacy that needs to happen. My determination. It is fierce. My fear. It is motivating. My breath. It keeps me grounded. Somehow, someway, we are going to change things for these children.”
And then yesterday I published this post: The Reading Warrior, It describes a determined little reader in my room. This same child was one of the many I so worried about in September and although I had plans and determination, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to help.
You see, in my room, I am not just playing catch up. It is not just about imparting skills. It is not simply about good teaching. Or about my mantra: “A room full of books and time to read them.” It is all of these things, yes. But it is also about helping to find calm. Confidence. Belief in one’s self. It is about trust. It is about serious routines and expectations. It is about cheerleading each small step. It is about helping each child own his/her own journey. And it is about all of the amazing people who help me make sure all of these things are in play. Growing readers is a team effort. And my team is incredible.
Are we all now where we should be? No. But some of us who weren’t, are. Some of us are well on our way. A few of us have finally stepped on to the path. And one or two are not ready to begin but I am pretty sure they know we are there rooting for them when they want to take that first step.
Now we find reader’s statements that must be shared in our conferences.
We know it is about effort (again and again) and results (soft and smooth).
We have uncovered Reading Warriors.
We are, now here, a room full of readers.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.
Love the look back and now the present! What a wonderful journey into life you have set forth for these reading warriors!
I am very proud of all that they have accomplished.
A reflection here is wonderful to read, and just think, there’s more of the year to come. You are amazing, Carrie, and of course, I love seeing those happy faces.
I was very excited to stop and note the progress here today. I woke up in the middle of the night and realized this had to be my celebration this morning. And yes, we still have months left!
It must be amazing, knowing that you are making such a difference in the lives of these children. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing!
Thank you for visiting and reading Jen.
I love your mantra and may co-opt it. I am a first year grade 1 teacher. Reading is my thang. And so, I am trying to create Reading Warriors too. I also have a classroom of really great kids, about 2/3 of whom have qualified for reading support this year. I also feel your same sense of urgency. I am trying to fill my room with awesome books. When my Scholastic orders come in there is a reading frenzy in my room. Where do you get all of your books? I also love the sentence strips with strategies – how are those generated?
The sentence strips are Reader Statements that come from the children as we conference with them during Reading Workshop. As we are having a conversation about strategy and thinking, etc. things will come up that I think need to be shared. I write it out on a strip and they are posted all in one spot in the room. I share some more in this post: https://thereisabookforthat.com/2015/08/07/my-classroom-library-beyond-the-books-10-important-features/ Where do I get all the books? Well, that is a long answer. I have been collecting and am always collecting. I do spend my own money and sometimes I have had donations. I have been lucky to have been sent some picture books to review. I also accept any and all donations and sift through hundreds of books – there are always treasures. Having a beautiful collection of books takes time and money. Can’t get around that. But it is essential.
This is a grand celebration indeed! I love how you let us peek into a previous post so we would be able to appreciate the growth and the joy this post has. Congratulations to all of your Reading Warriors on all their hard work! Having a teacher who believes in you makes all the difference!
Thank you Erin. I was so thrilled to celebrate this today!
Wow! What a wonderful thing to celebrate. I love the photos of your young readers. They look so proud of themselves!
Oh, they are! 🙂
Such a huge celebration! You are an amazing cheerleader and guide. I know I would have loved being in your classroom when I was in elementary school. It seems to be such an empowering place.
Crystal, thank you for this. I hope that it is. This is what we strive for
This is one mighty celebration. I celebrate your readers. I celebrate you for bringing together all the various elements that are needed for growing readers. Your mantra is the cornerstone for all of it.
Thank you for celebrating with me!
I remember that fall post. And I celebrate with you today! These words from your post “it is also about helping to find calm. Confidence. Belief in one’s self. It is about trust. It is about serious routines and expectations. It is about cheerleading each small step. It is about helping each child own his/her own journey,” make me tear up and make me wish every child could have a teacher like you and a team like yours!
Ramona, you just made my day. Thank you, thank you!