Monday, October 22, 2012

Branding Yourself as a Reader

Last month, Education Week had a great blog post about branding yourself as a reader. The author examined ways in which the Kardashian machine inspired her to brand herself as a reader to her students. I took two of the pieces of advice, and they've really worked.

I started listing what I'm reading on a piece of my whiteboard. I make sure to update it and include whatever whole-class novel we may be working on so they can see I'm reading along with them. I also talk about authors I love. A lot. For the first few weeks of school, I think my students thought that Junot Diaz's first name was Myfuturehusband. Now, a handful of them are reading The Brief, Wondorus Life of Oscar Wao. Kids who have never finished a book are reading the book that won the Pulitzer when I was in college. Boom.

I also used Ms. Miller's idea for building excitement around new books. Thanks to the generosity of my wonderful friends, family, and the universe at large, we've received several shipments of new and exciting books. I've stacked them up and had them visible as I've been putting in the slips identifying them as the property of our school. When someone asks about a book, I say, "That one isn't ready yet, but it's coming soon!" And as soon as I point out it's been moved to the shelf -- bam! -- arguments break out in my lower-proficiency English class over who claimed A Child Called It first. Then it gets quiet, and kids actually complain when SSR is over.

We'll be working on some of Ms. Miller's ideas in the weeks to come. I'll report back, but I've got a good feeling!

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