Teachers for Teachers | Mentor Teaching Moves: If We Build It … Will They Read and Write? #T4TMoments
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Mentor Teaching Moves: If We Build It … Will They Read and Write? #T4TMoments

It was a LONG winter in the Northeast!  Last week we observed a teacher bring her class outside for a lesson.  It was a beautiful spring day.  As we observed this lesson we couldn’t help but reflect on the setting.

Summer is just around the corner.  If our students view reading and writing as something that only occurs in a classroom, what will happen in July and August?  Will they read?  Will they write?  While we think it is perfectly lovely to take kids outside for a lesson to soak in the sun and breathe in the fresh air, we believe going outside might just be more than enjoying a nice day.

Lifelong readers and writers are inspired by setting.  We find cozy spots, shady areas, and sunny beaches to do what we love – read and write!  We want our students to make reading and writing a part of their daily lives – something they look forward to.  How did we come to desire a book in our hands on the beach?  How did we come to connect our Adirondack chairs to writing?  Why do we bring our books out to the fire pit on a summer evening?  Why do our hammocks call to us throughout the day?  These are questions we are thinking a great deal about lately.  We meet many readers and writers who are meeting and even exceeding standards and choose not to read.  They do not view reading and writing as a gift.  They have not developed the habits and dispositions of a reader and writer.

We have written articles and blog posts about how to set students up for a literate summer.  We have shared tips and resources to make sure kids have what they need.  But … if we build it, will they come?  Have we inspired them to read?  Have we taken the time in school to model the love of reading and writing?  Do they understand the role authentic reading and writing can play in one’s life?

As we watched this class book talk and read together in a sunny courtyard, we realized this is a mentor teaching move.  Creating a lifelong literate person is more than a lesson, skill or unit.  It is a way of life and we need to make time in school to teach this to our students.  How do you inspire and engage the dispositions of lifelong readers and writers in your classroom?  We would love to know.

1Comment
  • Gwen B
    Posted at 12:30h, 18 May Reply

    I love naming that taking kids outside in this way was a total mentor teaching move. I also believe that visibly sharing our own reading lives with our students is key to creating lifelong readers. We have to find ways to let kids know what we are reading– it could be via a paper “shelfie” where we write the titles on a paper bookshelf, a display of book covers (wow, there are a lot of creative ways to do this), an Instagram account, a Goodreads account, etc. We need to bring the books we are reading in and share this part of ourselves with our students and school communities to drum up enthusiasm & excitement. By doing this we can show and model that reading is something pleasurable that happens beyond school walls (and possibly expose our students to new books/authors.). We also need to share the ways that we keep track of the books we can’t wait to read next to model that readers are always on the hunt for that next good book!

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