Penny Kittle Never Ceases to Amaze

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I look forward to the weeks we are assigned to read Penny Kittle’s Book Love. Even thought it is a professional development book, it is quite the page-turner! This week, we read the last few chapters of the book, and as usual, they were filled with wisdom I will take with me into my future classroom. These couple chapters were about the community aspect of reading.

In Chapter 8, she first explains “big idea” books and how she pushes students to see connections between their independent reads based on major themes. I really liked this idea because it would connect contemporary literature to classics. These older novels are much more intimidating, but if students have a more accessible book to compare it to, their reading will be more meaningful and less scary. She also discusses reading reflections at the end of each quarter. I thought this would really help students consciously acknowledge all of the books they have read up to that point, so they can choose more diverse or challenging books or just more books in general for the next quarter based on what they notice.

In Chapter 9, she introduces the school-wide reading break. Kittle’s school is silent for twenty minutes each day as students and teachers alike read. Before, Kittle found that “20 percent of our students said that they read books regularly, about 30 percent read a book or two a year, and the remaining 50 percent said they did not read books at all. We found dozens of students who had never read a chapter book” (142). I found this quite incredible. I really don’t understand how a student wouldn’t have read a single chapter book up to that point, and I think it’s sad that both parents and teachers allowed that to happen. Although I am sad that Book Love is finished, I will take every ounce of wisdom from Kittle’s writing with me into my future classroom.

3 Comments

  1. I agree that it is quite sad to know just how many students hardly read. It is shocking that there are so many who have yet to read a chapter book. As future teachers, this is an issue that we all need to tackle. I think that Kittle offers many great ideas about how to influence and encourage engaged readers in the classroom that we should all consider using in our future classrooms.

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