Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thoughts on Already Ready

subtitle: yes, i know i am a big dork, so you don't need to point it out in the comments.

Our kindergarten team with the help of our literacy collaborative coaches is about to start a new writing project next year where we are transitioning from having writing workshop take place in journals to having writing workshop take place in small books. I am ridiculously excited about this. Right before the end of school a kindergarten teacher and I launched a writing unit on 'How To' books with her class. Watching them produce small yet detailed How-To books was amazing and I am so excited to start this project in the beginning of the year.

So to get ready for next year (coming in mid-July) I've started reading the text we'll be using, Already Ready by Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover. I have a feeling throughout my short summer break I'll be posting what I've found fascinating and exciting from the book.

One fascinating point Ray and Glover make is sighting Randy Bomer who proposes the idea that writing actually helps with literacy development more than reading. "A blank page presents children with an invitation (to make meaning), while reading presents them with an expectation (to figure out someone else's meaning). When children don't have much experience in the literacy club, invitations are probably more developmentally appropriate than expectations."


In chapter 2 the book describes a preschool experience that works on creating focused experiences for the children. The 7 intellectual dispositions they foster are:

~ Problem solving and reasoning
~Questioning and problem posing
~Keen observation- gathering data through all the senses
~Imagining, innovating, and responding with wonderment and awe
~Intellectual risk-taking
~Thinking independently

These are for preschool. Can you imagine if we foster these fundamental beliefs in preschool? Katie Wood Ray and partner go on to describe how writing picture books in the classroom foster all of these 7 initiatives.

I have a feeling that once we get into presenting children with blank books for them to fill we'll find writing workshop easier than when we presented children with a journal. How many writing conferences have we had where we looked at a page of "I went to the park with my mom" and tried to tease out more details. "But I have no room!" the little one responds and returns to coloring his detailed picture. Just looking at the picture provides the details of the story, but a journal limits the details in writing, sending a message to the child to just write the one sentence and be done, the story of the park is not an important story. With more pages hopefully those stifled writing conferences will happen naturally as children put the details in the print-like form with their pictures.

And because it is summer now I'm going to go read a book for fun and possibly take a nap. I do only have 4 weeks of break...


Jenny said...

Hey big dork! I'm reading the same book and loving it. I've actually made my darling hubby read a bit of it when thinking about our soon-to-be kindergartener. I can't wait to read more of your posts on the book as we both continue through it.

Anonymous said...

The Literacy Collaborative thing works great. i use it as a teacher and see it used as a parent... Love the way all kids feel good about what they are reading and understanding