There are so many things in Penny Kittle’s book that I have marked, that my book looks like it is bleeding yellow. These last two chapters were no exception. I really enjoyed reading about the “big idea books” where she labels them with themes in literature (Kittle 117-119). I really might consider using this next year to try and bring more conversation on the types of themes found in the books. Also, the quarterly reflections are another part that I found interesting and extremely useful. The other thing that I think I may try is the idea of the “order” of literature across her back wall where they connect books to one another. I like the fact that everytime I read this, I discover more areas that I would like to improve on for my future classes.
There were again, many things that I marked in the last chapter of the book. The first things that I marked were areas that I agreed with Kittle when looking at how standardized testing does not measure the intense portion of reading. I loved when she stated, “Speed reading is of little value in the world, yet speed is at the center of standardized testing…” (Kittle 138). This was one of the issues I had during my days as an elementary teacher. Practicing speed reading was one of the things we had to do. I had an issue with this because I’m not a fast reader yet I still manage to comprehend and get things done. Many of the students would worry so much about their reading-rate and not worry about the comprehension they should be gaining from it. I also agree with her when she says the only way to get real information on a student’s reading is by sitting down with a student, listening and talking to them. Finally, in this section, she says what I think we all say when American school’s are judged against other countries, “…we are not testing the same populations” (Kittle 139)!
The next thing that I LOVED was how her school mandated a school-wide reading time! What a wonderful idea! I have a reading time in my class, but what a great concept to show EVERYONE that reading is important. I would like to talk to my administration about this concept. I can see where, I believe, this would be a wonder
ul endeavor! I know that getting all involved would be an undertaking, but I think the benefits would be amazing. There would be those that would think this would be taking valuable time away from “real” teaching, but if they can’t read, they can’t do anything else!
Summer reading was the last portion that I thought was interesting. I never was made to read during the summer. I know that students have a reading loss caused by summer vacation, and in a perfect world, we would be able to get them to continue to read during the summer so that loss doesn’t come. I commend her if she is actually able to get students to do the summer reading, as I do think it’s a great idea, but in reality, I can not see a lot of middle school/high school students actually doing it. The ones that read on their own would again be the only ones that would read for the summer homework. Would I like for this to happen? Of course, do I see it happening, nope.
Again, I just want to say that this is one of the best PD books that I have read and it is definitely not one that you should read only once and put on the shelf. This book has helped me realize the type of teacher I hope to be someday.
Kittle, Penny. Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers. Heinemann, 2013.