Over the last few days, teachers have been attending training. The workshops, I’m told, are devoid of technology connections, even though two of my team are facilitating the sessions. While we’re delighted to “collaborate,” the collaboration is simply to deliver district expectations to campus teachers…with no value–technology–added. However, as I reviewed the materials passed out, I noticed something.

One of the books they’re passing out in Reading/English Language Arts workshops is Nanci Atwell’s The Reading Zone. This is one I hadn’t read yet, even though I was an avid reader and practitioner of Atwell’s In the Middle Reading/Writing Workshop in my own teaching. So, I cracked it open and stumbled across this paragraph.

In fact, a more useful lesson about the connections that story readers make, as we’re reading, is one that helps students decide how to respond to them. I ask my kids, “When you’re reading a story, do you ever bump yourself out of the zone because something in the book sparks a thought or memory?” and follow up with, “If so, how do you respond to the bump?”. . .these occasions when we read like writers: we pay attention to the way a text is written, and we enjoy an efferent moment as we observe something in someone else’s writing that we might choose to carry away, and put to use, in writing of our own.

What a powerful way to introduce blogging as a way to deal with the bumps that move us out of the Reading Zone. I’m going to be reading this book in more detail in the future, but I have share how excited I am to see the connections and how blogging can kick off a bigger conversation that is, in itself, efferent…an understanding that learning is in the connections a la George Siemens’ connectivism.

When facilitating reading workshop with my students, in fact, even when doing sustained silent reading with my children at home, I experience a certain pleasure at reading quietly…it is a feeling that is incongruous in public schools frothy about high stakes test prep. As I read a review of Atwell’s book, I ran across the “P-word.” It is a word that reminds me of same obstacle that technology faces. In the review, the author writes:

Every day, smart, well-meaning teachers erect instructional roadblocks between their students and the pure pleasure of the personal art of reading.

There it is: the P word. I know, because I’ve felt it too, that there’s a sense of uneasiness among teachers and parents about an approach like a reading workshop. Shouldn’t there be some pedagogic strings attached here? Some paper and pencil and small group activities that look like schoolwork? Because otherwise, isn’t reading class, well, too enjoyable?
Source: Scholastic

Couldn’t that statement read just as well, like this?

Every day, smart, well-meaning teachers erect instructional roadblocks between their students and the personal, digital communication tools.

How do we bridge the divide, conflating these guilty pleasures?


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