Countdown of the Five Tools for Using the New Units of Study for Reading

Today is Day 22 of the Daily Slice of Life Story Challenge being held for the month of March. This challenge is being hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Five Tools for Using the New Units of Study for Reading

Saturday’s Teacher College Reunion was filled with so many great choices of PD that it is often hard to choose just four from the many offerings.  Natalie Louis was my choice for the first session of the day, presenting “Using the Units of Study Books to Build a Reading Toolkit: Be Prepared to Work with any Reader, Anytime.” To be honest I chose this session because I love how Natalie can get her message across all the while laughing and joking.  In this session, Natalie shared five tools for using the new Teachers College Units of Study for Reading. My head is full thinking about all Natalie shared, so writing this blog is my way of synthesizing the information.

Tool number five is a blank piece of paper. The best tools are those that come from your own needs. Natalie suggested that if we are looking for a recording form of one kind or another, we should simply create one.  The tool you create will be the one most used because it originated from a need you saw. The new units of study come with many great resources, but there is no way the developers could foresee your specific needs.

Fourth on the list was to find and use one book you know well.  The book needs to be one you like that you keep coming back to. A book that says “reading matters” and a book that gets in your bones.

Number three was to make sure your teaching has your fingerprint on it.  Natalie was very passionate about this piece and commented that we need to beware of trying to take the you from your teaching. Natalie stressed that we need to cultivate our voice in these lesson ideas.

Second on the toolkit list was to find an opener for your kit and dive in.  How many times have we received a new resource and not a take the time to look at all the pieces?  Natalie reminded us to check each piece carefully – and with a group of friends. There is much in the box, so take a look but know that it is the hope that soon you will outgrow the lessons in the books.

And the number one tool is a deep knowledge of what reading is.  How can you teach reading if you don’t have this knowledge?  Natalie noted that Teachers College is constantly outgrowing itself in their knowledge of reading as they work with schools across the country. The work of reading development is ever evolving. She then challenged us to continue to learn and grow in our understanding of the reading process, so that we have an “ever deepening” knowledge of what reading is.  Natalie also charged us with thinking about using various means to reach the reader.  If you are dissatisfied with the product, change the process.  We need to use any and all components such as shared reading, read aloud, and independent reading to reach and teach our reader.

Natalie certainly gave me plenty of food for thought with these five tools.  I know I will be referring back to this list as I grow in my ever deepening knowledge of reading and teaching.

6 Replies to “Countdown of the Five Tools for Using the New Units of Study for Reading”

  1. So glad I followed the Facebook trail from Clare Landrigan to your post. All of this could be said for writing instruction as well. Nothing like blank paper and a book for teaching. Don't forget markers. I would have had six tools. 🙂

  2. One of the things that has bothered me most during my career is the growing reliance on canned curriculum, so it's good to see the pendulum starting to swing the other way.

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