So, I've been noticing a little more lately, and observing the "small things." None of the revelations below are necessarily new or "other-worldly," but what I've found is encouraging.
- I see students taking books with them to every class to squeeze in some reading time.
- Students often can't wait to tell me about another book they just finished.
- They choose persuasive writing topics like asking an author to add another book to a current series.
- They choose persuasive writing topics like asking teachers for more independent reading time.
- My kiddos groan when it's time to stop independent reading.
- My students cheer when it's time for read aloud (and complain when I stop reading).
- It's becoming harder and harder for students to come out of "the reading zone" during independent reading.
- They are working on strategy instruction beyond the "literal" level, and are making deep connections, revelations, and thoughtful observations about characters and events.
- They are beginning to really "own" the idea of keeping a "Next Reads" list (not just because I tell them to keep such a list).
- They actually read (and trust) other students' book recommendations!
- They are seeing the value in stretching beyond their own genre comfort zones.
- They are becoming better "previewers" of books, and are abandoning books less often.
- Students are problem-solving words, and looking at context more meaningfully to gain understanding.
There is still a lot of teaching and learning yet in the year, but when I get a bit discouraged, or when time just seems to slip away, I know I can stop and reflect on this list, and know that it is purposeful, meaningful, and real.