This summer, I am reading Vicki Vinton's brilliant book, Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading with my #cyberPD friends. This is one of the best books I have ever read regarding the teaching of reading.
Chapter 7: Creating Opportunities for Readers to Interpret
One thing I have really appreciated in this book is the examples of literature. In this chapter, Vicki mentions several books I know well: Julius, Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes, One Green Apple by Eve Buntings, and The Old Woman Who Names Things by Cynthia Rylant. I never thought about these books from the perspective of patterns that change but Vicki's explanation makes so much sense and I can see myself teaching students to think along those lines.
I love the idea of a "first draft understanding."
Other thoughts that stood out in this chapter:
-Readers must be tentative before they are certain.
-Asking students to analyze before interpreting is like putting the cart before the horse.
-"So, if we believe, as these authors do, that reading is a transactional act, with a text's words only coming to life as they interact with a reader's mind and heart, and that the students who leave our schools will need to know how to interpret many things, not just analyze them, we need to bring interpretation- and feelings- back into our classrooms" (133).
Chapter 8: Creating Opportunities for Readers to Consider the Implications of Facts
This chapter was full of "aha's" for me. I realized I'm the type of reader who sometimes reads past things I don't understand in informational text. To deeply understand, I would need to do some problem solving as well! I was struck by the idea that nonfiction writers don't always explain everything and assume that the reader might already know information. The difference between knowing and understanding also made me wonder if I am doing enough work to help kids understand the informational text we read. I found the section on preteaching vocabulary (or not) to be refreshing and new from what I've been taught about giving students all the words ahead of time.
I love the part where Vicki said to students, "I think we're confused because this is one of those places where the writer hasn't come out and directly told us something. Instead he expects us to figure it out and nonfiction readers often do that by thinking about how a word of fact connects to other parts of the text" (148)."
The section about the lungless frog was fascinating (and challenging to understand). The idea of planning and preparation was also something that got my attention- the idea you need to plan but also be prepared for when the play goes awry.
I'm eager to read the rest of the book and participate in the Twitter chat this week! This book has really pushed my thinking about what it means to teach readers to be problem solvers.