Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Some Days Reading is the Best PreWriting #SOL18 #TWTBlog
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Slice of Life: Some Days Reading is the Best PreWriting #SOL18 #TWTBlog

I came home from NCTE with a stack of books.  This past weekend was cold. My cozy reading chair was beckoning me.  So I read and read and read.

As an adult, I can make that choice.  I can decide how I will spend my literate time.  I allow for a fluidity between my reading and my writing lives.  I was more motivated to read this break and so I read.  There are writing projects that I did not make progress on, but I think I was more productive and will be more productive this week because I chose to follow my reading/writing mind.

It makes me think about reading and writing workshops in classrooms.  Do students have this same flexibility?  Can they choose to read or write more at times?  Do we honor the reading work of a writer and the writing work of a reader?  So often I see kids sitting in search of a topic in writing or hesitant to start a new book after finishing one in reading.  I wonder what would happen if they had the opportunity to read or write instead.

Time is a precious commodity in classrooms.  We might be smarter to broaden the parameters of our workshops to allow students to use the time more productively.  Stamina does not always mean forcing oneself to stay engaged for longer.  Sometimes it means shifting focus so we can re-engage.  I know it works for me as a reader and a writer.  I have been trying this with teachers and students for the past year.  Reading and writing are feeling more purposeful for many students and we are observing students have more agency in their learning.  It requires organization, clarity of process and systems students know how to independently use.  It takes time to set up like anything else, but we are finding it is well worth the effort for some students.  Give it a go – I would love to hear how it works for you and your students.


Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers, and teachers here.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 21:46h, 27 November Reply

    I have experimented with offering choice. It’s tricky though because some kids will never choose reading and some will never choose writing. Or they will rarely choose it. And even though I know they support each other, I feel like I have to make them do the thing they don’t prefer. I love when I have some time and can say, “Today you can choose.” It’s interesting to see who chooses what!

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    Margaret Simon
    Posted at 00:28h, 28 November Reply

    I need to reserve some reading time over the Christmas break. I have been giving my students more writing time, so we have less reading time. Finding time for both is hard. I think tomorrow I’ll ask them to choose which they’d rather do. Let go and let the kids. Thanks!

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