In an effort to boost test scores and close gaps, too many schools are using more reading "activities and programs" and cutting back on time for actual reading. In this episode, teacher and author Pernille Ripp tells me about how she completely changed her approach to reading instruction to help students become life-long readers, and how other teachers can do the same.

United States


00:00:00this is Jennifer Gonzalez welcoming you to episode eighty four of the cult of pedagogy podcast in this episode I interview teacher Pernille rap about how we can stop killing the love of reading if I had to pick one thing that makes the biggest difference in the quality of
00:00:28any person's education the quality of their life really it would be reading and I'm not really talking about basic literacy not about the the ability to read I'm talking about reading for pleasure to satisfy curiosities to understand how people work and find solace in knowing we are not
00:00:47the only ones who think and feel the way we do that kind of reading and I try pretty hard to help my three kids become the kind of people who read that way I taught them all how to read before kindergarten the house is full of books we
00:01:03keep TV's and devices out of everyone's bedrooms and they see me reading quite a bit but all five of us have multiple devices and were on them a lot we can stream just about any TV show or movie we can think of at any time my eleven year
00:01:19old daughter is obsessed with staring at people who poke slime on Instagram my ten year old son spends way too much time watching a youtuber named Logan Paul get in fights with stop signs and dance to car alarms my thirteen year old daughter keeps up a running dialogue
00:01:34on Snapchat with dozens of her classmates and my husband and I spend way too much time on Facebook the old people social network so yeah the reading culture in our house isn't quite where I'd like it to be and I know that's on me we are definitely working
00:01:51on it something else has happened in schools to when I see what my kids do in school for reading it doesn't really look like reading I asked them what books the reading in school and a lot of times they give me a blank stare what they do in
00:02:10reading they tell me is mostly worksheets about reading or computer programs that asked him to read passages not books an answer multiple choice questions knowing this has bothered me a lot and it led me to Donilon Miller's book the book whisper and then to Kelly Gallagher's book read
00:02:32aside both of these show us that the reading programs and activities schools are using don't work very well to raise students reading proficiency especially if they're there as substitutes for real interactions with real books and they certainly don't do anything to turn our students and to people who
00:02:51love to read the only thing that can do that is books reading actual books alongside other people reading actual books what baffles me is that the message still hasn't reached Seoul many schools schools are still shelling out thousands of dollars on expensive programs putting pages and pages of
00:03:13passages in comprehension questions in front of our kids everyday sending them through the system without ever having them read a real book just excerpts just passages just reading related activities but little to no time with actual books so in this episode I am going to do what I
00:03:32can to get the message out there by having my friend Pernille rep on the podcast Neil is a seventh grade English language arts teacher in Wisconsin she has been blogging for years she speaks all over the country and she's written several books about teaching her most recent one
00:03:50is called passionate readers where she writes about her own journey from teaching reading through programs and activities to teaching in a way that honors books and develop a love of reading and every child is an awesome book the best thing about it is how transparent Pernille is about
00:04:07her own doubts and struggles in this process in our interview we're going to talk about why she made the change what her classroom looks like now and how other teachers can change their own practices to find links to everything we talk about in the interview when you're done
00:04:21listening come over a cult of pedagogy click podcast and go to episode eighty four before we get started I want to thank you for the reviews you've left on I tunes I read these every week and I absolutely love them I'd like to send out a special thanks
00:04:37to PW tech for his detailed review and Matthew Todd G. and Vegeta Lizzy eighty three for their enthusiasm Vegeta Lizzie even yelled a little if you'd like to support the work I'm doing here and you think other teachers need to be listening please recommend the podcast to a
00:04:55friend and take a minute to leave a review on I tunes it really helps get it out in front of more people I'd also like to thank this episode sponsor Kim Kim is a free platform that allows teachers to plan assess and analyze student work and now more
00:05:11teachers are using kid up to collaborate with each other using Kim's free curriculum planning tools teachers can plan in the cloud so you can put your heads together no matter where you are and when we work together our students reap the rewards visit culture pedagogy dot com slash
00:05:28kid on to learn more about KHOU planning and sharing your best work with each other now let's talk to Pernille rip in a few places you'll hear a kind of scratching sound we couldn't figure out what was causing it but ultimately decided to ignore it this is good
00:05:42stuff so hopefully you can get past the scratching to okay here we go so high for nail down I am I am so excited to have you on I mean I really have waited for a while for just the right time and now that passionate readers came out
00:06:01it has just it's just come at just the right time and I read it quickly and I loved everything you had to say and so I feel like this is the time and so our focus is going to be on how to stop killing the love of reading
00:06:17in schools and you are the perfect person to talk to about that so tell us a little bit about when we start with your teaching life first and then we'll talk about the the writing well I've been teaching I am now about to round ten years here in
00:06:33January and that it has been an amazing roller coaster of a journey which I think many can attest to once they start teaching you think you are doing pretty well and then as you get into your teaching further and further you start realizing just how many things you
00:06:50still have to learn and you also start looking back on all of the things that you shouldn't have done and you hope you could go back and apologize to all of your former students as you grow %HESITATION and I think that's the mark of a of a reflective
00:07:05teacher right just always looking back and looking at what you're doing and going how can I be better how can this be better for students and I think that's just been my drive forward when I realized I I wasn't going to quit teaching but I needed to severely
00:07:19change the way I was teaching because otherwise I was just gonna be crushing the dreams of children and that was going to fall on my shoulders and I was not going to live with that for the rest of my life all in the name of kind of protecting
00:07:33the system of teaching that I had been sucked into that is one of my favorite things about you is that you are so reflective mass sometimes I think you're too hard on yourself but I think it's such a good model for how I wish all teachers all teachers
00:07:45were this reflective we would have just wonderful classrooms you're currently teaching middle school language arts but then before you move to the middle school level you were teaching I think it was fourth and fifth grade for a couple of years yeah I started as a mass resource and
00:08:00then moved into fourth grade loved fourth graders and kind of this you know just huge development they were part of and then when the chance open up her fifth grade I moved into fifth grade just to see what happened to these amazing fourth graders and completely fell in
00:08:14love with fifth graders who are just in this amazing developmental stage of kind of trying on these new tween identities and getting ready for the teenage years but still in elementary and then I was ready for another change and I took the terrifying leap to middle school and
00:08:31it truly was terrifying I did not think I was going to love being a middle school teacher I but I wanted a challenge and I really wanted to see you know what was the buzz all about because I had friends that were middle school teachers that just loved
00:08:46it and it has been incredible it has been terrifying and challenging and yet teaching my seventh graders has been one of the biggest honors of my life because they really come to you at times with their heart on their sleeve hoping that you'll just see them as a
00:09:04person and then at other times they're walls are completely out and so I just think of all the truths that they have willingly shared with me over the years and so did my fourth graders in my fifth graders but really my seventh graders just sold loudly wanting to
00:09:20be heard and so loudly whining instruction that was about them and their journey and just how easy it was to start the conversation yet how hard it was to actually do and so I love middle school I I totally out it's just in my heart is there with
00:09:39the seventh graders yeah that turn into these big kids and it's such an honor to be with them that's that's my that's my background to it's it's I it's funny because I have a seventh grader at home with me now %HESITATION and that was my that was my
00:09:54grade level and it is it's such a special set a years because they're shutting a lot of people out at that time so if you can form a relationship with them as a teacher %HESITATION you may be one of the only adults that they they're willing to talk
00:10:09to yeah and I think that's something to really protect right and to really nourish and and cherish and not take for granted and I walked in the seventh grade being so green and feeling like a completely brand new teacher and I still feel that way every year with
00:10:26the seventh grader show up and just remembering that the words that they entrust us with are really meaningful and can be really hard for them to share and so the the least we can do is listen and then anything we can do beyond that is only going to
00:10:42cement the relationship that we may have with them throughout the years yeah yeah so in you you %HESITATION have been blogging for a number of years about your teaching and you've also written a couple of books and then the one that we're going to focus on today is
00:10:59passionate readers and that's your most recent book yeah I started writing my blog in two thousand ten and it was my husband that kind of pushed me in the direction of getting my thoughts out there and I think honestly was just because he's kind of like a why
00:11:13do you keep talking to me about the things that %HESITATION but for me too I needed to get the thoughts out of my head and I think that's still the heart of my blog is just whatever is a I'm thinking of and that needs to be out of
00:11:26my head so that I can step back and reflect on it and sometimes it's hard to write sometimes it's really hard to hit publish but I think one of the things that I sell into was that I kept looking for the perfect teacher and I kept looking at
00:11:39my colleagues thinking that they were the perfect teacher they had everything figured out because that's what it look like and I realize just how harmful they can be for new teachers and veterans alike because there's no such thing as a perfect teacher and so I wanted to make
00:11:54sure that my blog was a representation of everything that happened within the classroom yes the days where we are like try unfriendly driving home going all my gosh today was just such a great day and then also the days where we go home and we're just upset with
00:12:08ourselves or something fell apart or blow up in our face or we need to go back and apologize to a kid the next day I wanted to put that out there too because it was so important for the reality of what teaching really is on to be out
00:12:22there for others and also for myself like this is truly my way of reflecting of of writing it out it's always a first draft that I publish which is why they're sometimes grammar and spelling mistakes and stuff and then going back and going okay now process it as
00:12:36if I'm an outsider and then where's my solution where am I going with this I never expected anyone to read it but the blue I didn't have like why would you write it's it should be called her nails random thoughts %HESITATION because that's really all it is but
00:12:51then when I realized that I felt so free having this way of getting the thoughts out of my head I I I turned to my students fourth graders at the time and just said you know what do you want to share with the world and to hear these
00:13:04kids and these ideas that they had for education and how they were just waiting for someone to come around and ask them really motivate faded needed get them blogging and then that also is what turned into the books that I've written I've written four different books and all
00:13:18of them are just a way for me to say listen to my students and listen to what these kids have and and yes here's all my my practices and my mistakes and the research and all of that but really just listen to my students because they have shaped
00:13:32who I am is a teacher so we are going to we're gonna focus this time and I would urge anybody who's not read your blog to go and read it it's going to be a breath of fresh air but we're gonna really hone in on Howell reading is
00:13:46typically taught in classrooms today and what you discovered because you used to teach reading the way that a lot of people are still teaching at and you have completely changed the way you tell you teach it now %HESITATION and so we're gonna just sort of follow along that
00:14:04journey and %HESITATION talk about why you changed and what your successes have been now and just then give people some sort of practical advice for how they could make the same change so let's start by talking about you know how reading is taught now a days inn in
00:14:21our current and we're basically talking about the United States although I think unfortunately a lot of countries are starting to model their reading instruction from what we're doing right now but talk a little bit about what what you're seeing right now in terms of trends in reading instruction
00:14:35so what I've been seeing and this is not anything new %HESITATION is just this distancing ourselves from common sense reading instruction and I get it I think we are all kind of facing the pressure of our districts and our government and our testing and our parents and everybody's
00:14:53focus kind on the data at the end of the day or the data at the end of the year to show that these children can comprehend and compete with this global market economy that were part of but unfortunately with that has led to within our classrooms and and
00:15:09you know it's just this is further step away from what we know works within reading instruction and this is nothing new like we have so many years of of really great reading research out there and yet it seems to be forgotten and so I think about like what
00:15:24Louise Rosen bought said so many years ago she talked about the two types of reading that were needed for for children to become readers that we needed both a static reading and we need it efferent reading so one is reading for skill and one is reading for pleasure
00:15:38yet what are we doing in our classrooms were constantly reading for skill were constantly asking kids to do something with their reading and then wondering why they're choosing to leave us and never picking up another book or they can't wait to get out of school so that they
00:15:54don't have to read and so what I see is a lot of teachers actually standing up and going excuse me like this is not going to work where's our time for independent reading where my times for conversation having conversations with kids where's the money for classroom libraries and
00:16:11school libraries and having actually certified librarians in our schools and instead were buying all of these programs and we're saying what these experts and many of them are truly experts have a program and you're going to teach it with fidelity and that's going to bring every kid up
00:16:28but within that program we lose the very essence of the kids that were teaching and it becomes this race to teach the program in a perfect way but the thing is none of us will ever be the masterminds behind those programs none of us will ever sit with
00:16:45those kids that these programs were developed around and so when districts rush out to buy programs to buy computer programs or scripted curriculum so that we can all be on the same page we're forgetting that that's not what education is about education and specially with reading and writing
00:17:03is about becoming even better as human beings and where is that in the experience that we're creating for our kids and so on when I think of common sense reading instruction it's nothing new that I write about it's again time to read if we're saying that we're valuing
00:17:19breeding think kids need to be doing it in our classrooms every single day it's people ask me like how do you know your students read I see them every day yet and I see the kids that aren't reading and I see the kids that are struggling to find
00:17:33a good book raid the kids that that are you know are kind of seeking it through that's how I know my students are reading I don't need a reading light to show that we need to give them access to books and we need incredible books in their hands
00:17:45at all times and yes I spend a lot of money on books for my students but I figure it's my contribution to the future of America but it shouldn't be that way I love technology for example I mean I've I created the global read aloud which really come
00:18:00depends a lot on on technology to be as big as it is and yet I see so many schools go out and invest an incredible technology and not investing classroom libraries what they're cut or they're cutting librarians where they're cutting reading specialists or any of that it's like
00:18:15I get the book isn't as flashy as an iPad or a Chromebook or virtual reality or sphere or whatever insert whatever technology right yeah but the thing is that book can change the life of a kid you know and those other things can too but it's just like
00:18:31we need that balance and then of course choice we know that choice matters when ever I ask kids that I've been asking this for many years now any kids that I can come across what's the one thing you wish all teachers of reading would do choice and yet
00:18:45what do we do it time and time again we take away choice from kids either because we're told to buy micrograms or administration and obviously be usually it's because of well meaning intentions I've yet to meet a teacher that actually has set out to kill the love of
00:19:00reading %HESITATION made her out there I don't think they are the but but we we make these weird decisions especially for kids who are vulnerable readers so kids who might not be where we would hope they would be at this time we end up with these limited choices
00:19:17for them and then we wonder why they're the ones that distance themselves from reading the most because they never get to just them develop their feeding identity they never get to go through the selection process they never get to just read and struggle with tax and have meaningful
00:19:34conversations and sometimes yes make the wrong choice were so eager to go in and go over here's your level or here's your line Siler here's this pile of books and so we need to give choice we need to foster reading community we need to be having conversations real
00:19:50conversations about reading I think about what Terry was saying and Donna Lynn Miller talk about how often we as readers don't wanna do anything other than just sit in silence when we're done with the book I think about the book experiences that have led that I had for
00:20:08example after I read long way down by Jason Reynolds which just came out here in October whom I just sat there right and soaked it in and just sat there with the book for a long time and then I turned to a friend and said well my gosh
00:20:21you have to read this book at I didn't go and write a one page review you know I didn't go and make a word search for a crossword puzzle book report on it and the thing is I say those things because I've had kids do those things in
00:20:37the search of thinking that this is what real reading instruction look like looks like and so I think for so long because of all the pressures of these kids becoming readers and apparently readers only means that we can take you know tests and do really well comprehension we've
00:20:52started looking for the quick and easy and what else is easy than computer programs that make all the decisions for us we don't even have to talk to kids about their books right we can just shove them in front of a computer and the computer will tell us
00:21:03whether they understood we put him in a short chopped up programs and we do scripted curriculum and it kills me yeah that the the passages are what bother me so much is that I think we're we're now starting to push kids through the education system who never actually
00:21:19read an entire book they only ever read passages and sometimes they're not even passages that are excerpted from real books there sort of mediocre or not very well written dry passages so that there's no no wonder that they're not really loving reading because they're reading fairly he tries
00:21:41stuff where you know there's shelves and shelves of these really amazing books they're gonna touch them emotionally that they never get a chance to read because the reading passages all the time and we assume that they're reading these amazing books outside of class nine yet some of my
00:21:58kids like they had a really busy last week and and a lot of them were saying this is what I barely got to read because I had so much to do for school yeah yeah I it and then we're like why aren't you reading well because he had
00:22:09me do all so that's that let's go back let's scroll back a little bit too when you used to teach this way what made you start to change my students it always comes back at back to them and there's like these moments now in retrospect like this is
00:22:27where it changed it started with my students but it also started with my own you know lacking qualities as a teacher we were a balanced literacy curriculum %HESITATION district I Google that I should begin I'd seen it in college I knew what it was but I didn't know
00:22:43what was really and then I just kind of followed the components of what it meant to be balanced literacy and balanced literacy is fantastic except for the how I was implementing it which was all teachers centers and it was exhausting right when we did book clubs it was
00:22:57all about me and I was reading five different books and coming up with all of the questions and all the kids had to do was show up read aloud you know there was no discussion about which because we were going to read or anything like that it was
00:23:08just all teachers center teacher sent it all the time book reports just to prove that they had read rather than doing meaningful work after %HESITATION they have finished a book and so I just remembered and it's so clear to me and I've written about it to that moment
00:23:23when I was doing the reading is magical lesson that I think we all do at some point in the beginning of the year and I can finally whispered as friends reading sucks and instead you know I just I wanted to jump on and be like I just haven't
00:23:37found the right book because how often have we said that but luckily I was like tell me more about that like what do you mean wide is reading suck and he just sat there with complete you know deer in the headlights kind of expansion because like all my
00:23:54gosh my new teacher is now like he she heard me right that yes it's not good at she's now not gonna like me and put his friend had the courage to raise his hand and he was like why don't like sitting still and then we've created an anchor
00:24:06chart and like that's where the change really started it was this like hang on I've been dismissing the reading identities as they've been coming and they tell me they're not readers and I tell them they haven't found the right book yet yet they tell me they don't like
00:24:19reading and I said old just wait I'm gonna make you Love read with some of my kids like that I'd say that may be like I'm gonna prove you wrong just because you said that right now which makes sense like that's how I would react if somebody said
00:24:31that to me but %HESITATION I also didn't speak books with my kids with my students I read a lot I was I was an avid reader I've been for years but I didn't read children's books and so when kids would come to me and say what should I
00:24:44read next I would say Harry potter and when they'd say well I've already read that then I'd say go ask your friends and it became so obvious when they left my classroom in droves to go see are fantastic school librarian Mister powers during our infinite reading time and
00:25:01it's a white where are you going there we have a classroom library they say he speaks books I didn't I didn't speak books because I didn't take the time to actually read anything so I've never gone through our library and really looked at what I was telling kids
00:25:15to read yeah and so is all these little things that just started going captors gotta be more than this you know or the reading rocks I used to do the reading like those kids that didn't have parents signatures for this flood they didn't get the celebrations they didn't
00:25:27get the rewards and the kids that were getting the signatures were the ones that I already knew what reading yeah right I mean so it was like I just started just practice this questioning of each practice because I think of that so often in education and in life
00:25:44to how many of the things that we do are simply routine that we've never question because either we picked it up somewhere or somebody passed it on to us and I think that's what happens in school a lot new teachers come in whether they're veteran or are completely
00:25:58brand new and they have these new ideas and quickly they're kind of told well you can't do that because this is how we've always done them and I think that that's what's killing the educational experience for a lot of kids because we're not questioning we're not sitting down
00:26:13and going well when was the last time we looked at these practices and when someone comes to us which is the big thing now and say well this is best practices and its research based instead of going Hey we should be saying great show me the practices and
00:26:27show me the research and I'll show you mine some of the research that I've seen it comes from these companies it's their own research and it's based on their own data from their own tests that they give I'm sort of quietly trying to fight that battle right now
00:26:44with the school that one of my children is going to and it's it's they said it's research base and I'm looking out and I'm thinking wait a second this is a test you did with your own tests you're showing that students made improvements on your tests after a
00:26:56year of doing your program well yeah but does that mean that there could better readers know I don't know right and I think often to what those programs and I'm thinking of some specific computer programs as well that the way they push the research and what they're not
00:27:13discussing is that the size of their computer program being put in place is there was also given more time for independent reading book selection and bigger classroom libraries those are three research proven things that will improve kids reading comprehension as well as their experiences with reading and so
00:27:30then when you add on a computer program under that and then say look they grew as readers yeah you can't really say that because you have too many variables going on and so that's why some of the research is being questioned and rightfully so because here's the thing
00:27:46to how much money are we spending on these programs you know I think of some of these programs that are ten thousand dollars a year how many books could we be putting in the hands of kids instead how many incredible reading experiences could we be putting in their
00:28:03hands and I think about some of the programs whether scripted or computer and how many of them are not geared towards having more complex reading experiences you know so when we think about what we need as a society we need kids that become that are or become critical
00:28:19thinkers problem solvers creative individuals and we also have many people that have stamina and and have have the internal drive to sit down and and do things over a long period of time time none of these programs were not many of them are actually addressing that means that
00:28:37it's this like you said with the passages and sees short comprehensions it's the short kind of chopped up things all to see if they understood it none of them are saying oh by the way if we're going to help you become more you know be better at critical
00:28:50thinking and so interesting we have this push for all these standards of how we need to grow as human beings and yet then we bring in these curriculums that actually don't help us do that but they'll help us maybe score higher on a test I'm gonna take a
00:29:04quick break to think this episode other sponsor my simple show my simple so is this really cool online tool that allows you to create your own animated videos for free it's so easy and fast you just write your script or upload your power point let my simple show
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00:29:37about the special education and classroom offers at my simple show dot com okay let's get back to the interview so let's talk a little bit about what you what you're reading instruction looks like now and one of the things I want to make sure that we really get
00:29:55at are the scary parts of it because I think you know we can describe it as teacher can here and say that sounds nice but and I want to just like mail every single objection her question that they might have about because I'm sure you you met all
00:30:09of what all of those as you develop this new way of of teaching reading well I think the fantastic thing is that I'm not alone in this work like I think back to the pioneers all of those that came before me who were great for you know just
00:30:28amazing human beings and put their work out there so I think of like you know at well in Ellington Stephen Krashen in Thailand beers and penny killing Kelly Gallagher and Donald Miller all of these people that said here's what I'm doing take it and then here's the research
00:30:42behind it and make it better and make it your own and so I can tell you that stepping away from curriculum and stepping away from everything being teacher centered is terrifying especially if you are within a time confinement like I am I teach forty five minute blocks of
00:31:02English and that's what I did for three years and so to say okay every day we're going to have independent reading I'm done taking about a quarter of my forty five minutes time with students and giving that back to them and that is really hard when we then
00:31:18look at what here all the things that I'm supposed to also be doing with these kids during this year but I went back to the common sense approach what do kids need to become leaders for first thing next time okay every child every day ten minutes at the
00:31:35beginning of class and it is sacred time it is that has been amazing yes the first couple days except are sometimes weeks can be rough but the big thing is just that habit everyday every child and if I had more than forty five minutes they would be getting
00:31:51more than ten minutes because that is when I see them reading that is when we are planting the seeds for outside reading this challenge in his research it's one workbook shopping and it's when I'm doing reading seconds with my kids I'm sitting down and I'm simply saying what
00:32:05are you working on as a reader and it gives me that two three minute can connection with a child if they need to book shop if they're not doing well to see what they're reading identity is where they on their and then I kind of pull all this
00:32:18information to think about what I still need to teach and that doesn't happen during those ten minutes the next thing that I know they need this choice and they need real choice and the choice that actually makes them want to read and so we talk a lot about
00:32:32free book abandonment and how we should be celebrating in the beginning when we abandon the book because we know ourselves enough as a reader to know that this will not provide us with a reading experience that will matter to us and we need to start you know building
00:32:48up that stamina so we need books that work for us at that time and that's really important for my students to remember and to know and to recognize that what they need at this moment might be different than what they need in a month from now and so
00:33:02they're constantly evaluating their book choices just either through conversation or self reflection or just their habits and so choice and then of course access to books so we have a beautiful school library that my students get to go to and many of them utilize and then we also
00:33:18have several thousand %HESITATION books in our classroom but I can tell you several thousand books it didn't start out that way that's yeah I want to underscore that you just said several thousand and that is gonna that's going to just make a alright and then how did how
00:33:34did you build that up and and you're going to get the push back here of like people say well why why why several thousand sounds amazing to me but you know why well what a question there's a lot of reasons why but the easiest one is simply I
00:33:49need a book for every reader and I teach kids that read from about a second grade level to a college level I've teach kids with lives that share no similarities at times and others whose lives are very much like my own and so I need to make sure
00:34:05that every child has a chance of finding a book that will speak to them there is a lot of research out there and I can always just depends on like where you go but all I know from the research is just you need a lot of books and
00:34:18you need from both in your classroom and in your school because it's definitely not an either or at all and that is why in both places because you you cover that in the book but I think he makes such important points yeah white why is it important have
00:34:34both because the kids need to see the books airing at all times and I think that has made the biggest difference for some of my kids who would go through the motions of going to the school library they would even check some books out for them when it
00:34:48came down to actually sitting down and read it they didn't feel that same need or urge to read it and I had a seventh grader come back to me my first year at the end of the year he said you know what made the biggest difference the books
00:34:58were always right there staring and I think about that too and on militarily saying is that this too when I saw the present NCT a couple years ago they said you know for some kids even if the school libraries right outside our classroom door that's too far away
00:35:12and I think about that with my own readers and their habits those kids that are reading Kate issue books so not the fake readers not the ones that can't find a book but the ones that are like in the seven out of ten star books they need to
00:35:26know that there are better options kind of screaming their name visually all around and there's research on it to moral and Newman have both done research on it and it says that students read fifty to sixty percent more in classrooms with libraries in classrooms without on but like
00:35:42I also said it didn't start that way I inherited a classroom library I was really excited and several bookshelves but I didn't make the realization that when someone leaves their classroom library behind they don't leave the good stuff yeah and so I didn't really know what fourth graders
00:36:02would life and I figured my titles were fine but then again after about a year's worth of use when the kids weren't really using it %HESITATION I realized that I needed to do some really hard reading it and and actually I think it was even a couple years
00:36:17and and I remember how scary it was to sit down and and really go through the books and go keep order for taught and I through I think gosh three quarters of my library out because it was not anything that would taste the kids and I ended up
00:36:33with the short little bookshelf yeah of books and I was like oh my gosh what do I do now like I have three kids at home you know other teachers salaries as like I can't go out and spend thousands of dollars on drugs and my school didn't have
00:36:49a lot of extra money and I had to have this realization of okay I would rather that a child can go up to this bookshelf and find the high quality for a pretty much any time they go there rather than have to dig through the junk and hope
00:37:05they find something and so it just became my mission that instead of buying things to make our classroom prettier or anything like that like I bought books and I use scholastic and I went to library sales and parents donated books and I was always really picky like I
00:37:23I it was big for me that the books were good and and then I just purchased books and so it has been an on going process and it has and it continues to be and I continue to lead in my library to books that I thought that maybe
00:37:36because we connect with they haven't no maybe it's not that they need to get tossed maybe they just need to go to a different classroom where they'll act on them and so for me like that is one of the biggest things that I can give these kids is
00:37:48just to say look at all these books look at all these choices that you have and I want them to feel and ties to touch them to pick them up and we also have audio books like overdrive for the kids and what not and there I have a
00:38:01few kids that like to read on devices but it's interesting to see how many kids gravitate towards the very tactile experience of sitting with a book in their hands also so that they can hand it to a friend more handed to me and do that physically recommendation and
00:38:17so that was this long term commitment of I need better books and I need all sorts of books that I think about that too and and my students constantly push me on this too about how we how we how we evaluate our classroom libraries and for me there's
00:38:32kind of three questions that I I always ask in and the first one is you know not just who is represented but how where they represented and who's not and I think that's so important I came from a student who last year looked in many senses require all
00:38:46the picture books featuring African Americans always about slavery civil rights and as I was looking around my classroom I was like yeah where all the picture both in the regular books about you know people of color or people anything other than like white cisgender you know whatever and
00:39:04nine a core family at doing anything yeah and so that needs to come from us because we need we're the ones purchasing these books and so we need to go out and say we need that yeah we need more diverse but often we need own authors books owned
00:39:19phone off or an own voices books and so that's the other question too and I purchasing books were only voices authors are writing them and so on voices came out of that we need diverse books movement and it just was you know the marginally represented authors writing about
00:39:34the marginally represented %HESITATION culture or set in that culture and so I think about our I'll be too few students or gender non conforming students or I Hispanic with Latin next students or anything that is not the norm so that kids can find themselves within the books and
00:39:51then of course I also think about what it might explain because whatever we're displaying is what kids are going to gravitate towards so when I was asked at one point what I was going to do as for picture books for black history month and I said I'm not
00:40:05gonna do anything because I've been displaying those books on that right like and that's so important like we can't do black history month displays and then only shows like slavery and civil rights picture books like how is that just a celebration and that shouldn't just be one month
00:40:21out of the year like that should be all the time yeah and so those are the things that I think about when I look at my own classroom library but again that took several years to kind of realize what my book caps were because my footsteps books I'm
00:40:36not reading I'm passing those book apps on the students right I think you it was it in the book that you talked about like sort of fantasy books that you just were never really into those and kids and sort of ask about it was like on I don't
00:40:49really know about the sport I love fantasy okay warts books okay words and dogs and merriment and those three and those three books are like some of the most maybe not mermaids but like dogs and yeah boards are massively popular in my classroom but they weren't in my
00:41:07classroom library because I was like why would anyone ever want to heat up words that slowed down again I came from students right ever like where these books and that's because I ask them I'm always asking them like what books do I need right for faster we have
00:41:23%HESITATION what what can't you find here and I also to teachers who are like okay why don't even have any money but by books you know partner up with your library and maybe you can become a satellite library where you can have fifty books on display from your
00:41:38school library and then tell the kids like go down and see the school library and you can go check this out what my colleague them into your classroom for awhile plane and that's a great idea yeah and then and then that way you know they need to go
00:41:51down and check them out I have a friend who goes to the public library and she brings in fifty Bucks on the public library the kids know they have to sign him I'll yeah but she's you know again like I think about how can we get books in
00:42:04the hands of these yeah called go to conferences like and see to your I. LA work publishers will hand you bright like westerns are blown away there like what books are you going to do it can we talk for a second about picture books because you you mentioned
00:42:17that and I know that that's a really important piece %HESITATION and people who are teaching you know middle and high school need to know what your stances on picture books all my gosh I don't I couldn't do my job without picture books and I wish that I had
00:42:32realized that a long time ago %HESITATION I remember being really annoyed by students when they were asked to borrow my picture books because they were behind my teacher does because I have this mentor times and I finally started realizing all hang on okay fiction books like that the
00:42:49kids really like reading them and then I started a diving into it more myself especially when I moved to seventh grade I was like where all the short stories and by short stories I mean like two three days need of like incredible you know character change or or
00:43:05anything like that and aisles and looked over my picture books and it's like they're they all come and it's like picture folks have to changed and transformed the way our reading community feels because if you can imagine if you walk into our classrooms yes there's there's all those
00:43:21books the chapter books and all of that but then all around us our picture books and it's just a five right you feel it when you walk in and that this is a classroom where you can have fun and where you get to read and you can choose
00:43:38whatever you want and it's so funny because some of my fifth and they're like picture books are for babies and then I pull out no picture books like bird which is about drug addiction or you've got a lot of picture book like I never knew your name which
00:43:52is about teen suicide and they're just like hang on I know this for a baby like would you ever read this to a four year old but it's also this community thread that brings us together and and so from my students I think about and this goes for
00:44:08any age but especially with older kids right with her so much stigma attached to what they can and cannot do as readers and how often some of our vulnerable readers come in and they're just like already so defeated because here I am in a classroom again filled with
00:44:24chapter books and of course none of them are going to actually be available to what I can do and now they're going to have to go and find special books and I'm gonna look like an idiot again and I think about her picture books just become this great
00:44:37equalizer for all my students no one cares what you're reading in our classroom because you can pick up picture books at any time and so it really removes a lot of the statement that might have come in the far as who they are as readers and we read
00:44:54them and we laughed about it cry over them and we talked a picture book authors and illustrators because we quickly realized like it is hard to write a picture that has to carry some sort of emotional value within such short %HESITATION amount of pages and so and I
00:45:11think two of like the kids that come in who are not where they should be as readers for whatever reason and you can pull something like a wordless picture book and put it in front of them and all of a sudden they're on the same playing field right
00:45:22they don't have to go through the decoding of language and said sometimes there that some of the ones that have the best ideas from creative abstract and yet they haven't seen themselves enough and so I just think of all of the benefit I get from pulling picture books
00:45:38and and and and and just how they are such an untapped resource for middle school and high schools and thankfully there are amazing people out there pushing picture books to like call Hankins and other people that are like this is why I use picture books but you know
00:45:53it just we can we cannot tell kids that some books are for for younger kids are for babies when it's so far from the tree so ten minutes at the beginning of every class is independent rating and then I know the biggest question that people are going to
00:46:08have when they listen to it is is how do you hold them accountable how do you turn this into a grade and so and I know that there are a lot of philosophies out there about grading the reality is that a lot of teachers are still in schools
00:46:24that will require them to give a grade of some sort so how have you navigated that and I am in one of those goals for the where I mean I still I have a system of graves and and and and so on and standardized testing so what I've
00:46:42been on a big kick on for the last couple years is that we can't actually great their independent reading because that's practices can and so you wouldn't grade someone's practice and so when I'm looking at what my kids can actually do its readers it's the skill of reading
00:46:57and so for me the ten minutes at the beginning of class is always with nothing to do except to read I want them to fall into the pages I want them to reach flow I want them to be silence and in this moment of their book when they
00:47:13come back to me we then do a mini lesson on reading or writing or whatever it is we're doing and it is truly a mini lesson ten to fifteen minutes and then they go and do something and that's where I assess them and so when I think about
00:47:27my students for example they just handed in on this two week long project they were doing and character development where they were just tracking a character throughout their own self selected story and they were giving evidence and analyzing it telling me all about this character you know they
00:47:43were working on that after the many lessons after this protected reading and that's when I can assess how are they growing its readers the other thing I can assess to is when I sit down and actually pull %HESITATION small conversations with a much smaller groups and I can
00:47:57see how their how they're progressing and I can ask pointed questions about who they are and what they can do and I think that's really important because we do have to be accountable in some way as read as as teachers of readers and we do have to know
00:48:11how are these kids progressing and what do I need to support them and so we just have to be careful that we're not constantly doing it one of the things that my students say over and over and over it's it's not that they hate reading it's that they
00:48:25hate all the things they have to do once they yet and I guess that like as adults and I've written about this too would like the reading rooms we would never follow as adults thinking we would never want to sit down and write something after every single both
00:48:39we have read well couple adults would maybe not as you know we would never want to do all these tasks and if we did we would probably start to read less and less and less because we would be dreading the task after and also the other thing that
00:48:53I have to be careful of particularly is that I'm not assessing their reading skills through their writing skills because that's also really really problematic I have kids who can comprehend at a really high level who can speak uniformly about it but the minute you tell them to write
00:49:13it down if he comes on and so I need to get to know my students to know how I can assess them and so sometimes I give the students an option of okay you can either write about your understandings let's say we're doing theme or something like that
00:49:26or you can record it in like flip granite or some other video and you can send it to me and so once in awhile say the kids okay I do need you to write this but I'm also assessing your right written skills based on income and other times
00:49:39it's just like I just need to see where you're at and because I twenty nine students I can't sit down with all of you within forty five minutes we be doing this assessment for three days so instead I'm going to send you over in this corner you can
00:49:51record at my kids usually have their own phones and so you you make it work and they can be scary ends and and sometimes I'm like I should have more yeah I should have more faith dusty to show how they're progressing but then I turn it back to
00:50:08the kids and and because we just ended a quarter I ask my students how have you grown as a reader and they struggled with that question some of them but then what they ended up writing it was really remarkable to read I have grown as a reader because
00:50:23I've tried new genres and I now feel more comfortable picking books that I would lean more or I have grown as a reader now because I notice that I'm not understanding vocabulary and I know I'm supposed to re read but instead I'm doing these other things and so
00:50:38it's like all of a sudden all of those words that I've been kind of spouting at them they're taking on and taking ownership of and I think that that's the best type of reading instruction we have and I think that's like like what Nancy Atwell right has been
00:50:50talking about for years now is just like that ownership of learning headed handing them back to students in saying hang on if I need accountability that needs to come from the students where are they in their breeding journey because we are so busy doing all the work more
00:51:10than we're setting the goals were telling them where they are we're telling them where they should go and instead we should be going okay this is what I see but what do you see them and get their voice as part of the conversation now in the in your
00:51:25book you you definitely sort of dig into a lot more of the sort of practical aspects of it because I mean I kasha would love to sort of keep asking you all of these different questions like you know how do you how do you manage like the twenty
00:51:39nine conversations have you even look at the flip great and all of that but I'm I'm gonna trust that people are going to go and and read about all of those let's for just a second about accelerated reader and and what what you're thinking about that and I'm
00:51:54I I know that you do not use it and that you strongly advocate that people stop using it so let's talk a little bit about that I always get in trouble people get so upset okay so here's a here's my main problem Brea and there's a couple one
00:52:15we tend to do programs like this for short term gain we have completely lost sight of the end game which is these creative critical thinkers problem solvers who actually want to read books and for some kids accelerated reader or programs like it works they get really excited I
00:52:35have a friend who's like I loved accelerated reader because she was really good at and so she would get all the points and she would get the reward if those kids love it by all means let them do it but the problem is we're taking programs like accelerated
00:52:49reader and shoving our most vulnerable readers in front of it and then we're telling them you can't choose that book or that book is not at your level or you fail this test and so now you're not going to be given these privileges that other kids are given
00:53:05and I think about how we take reading and we turn it into a task and that's exactly what a program like accelerated reader does read a book take a quiz and yes I know that they've changed their program and now all there's more critical thinking and deeper thinking
00:53:20but the thing is teaching reading is not supposed to be quick and easy teaching reading is supposed to be about human connection and I think about how my students would feel once they're done with a book if I said to them instead of tell me about it or
00:53:34tell a friend about it or tell the world about it I said go tell this computer about it and then I'll tell you whether you really had a deep reading experience with that are not based on your score but I but I get it right we're always searching
00:53:47for data an accelerated reader presents itself as a beautiful program that can give us tons of data the thing is though we can get that data in other ways if we really want kids to crew have you no comprehension quizzes and give some comprehension quizzes but my god
00:54:05that cannot be the heart of our reading program and I think about teachers who are who are very adamant in their defense of accelerated reader because they seen it improves kids as comprehension scores or even kids is reading lives there's other things that don't cost thousands of dollars
00:54:24a year that will allow us to do that while also create the one on one experience that kids need and deserve in our reading classrooms and here's the thing too I think about my own children I want my kids I have four of them I want four out
00:54:41for all of my kids to have the best reading experience as possible and you cannot tell me that that's going to come from a computer who pretends to know my child through the questions that it passes them and then bottom line too if authors are failing their own
00:54:57accelerated reader quizzes that should tell us something about the program right I mean I just did an elephant and piggy to a quiz because I was like all this would be you know I don't know it was fun on an airplane right I failed it I've read this
00:55:12picture book like nine times because of course the questions were not deeper level they were not what is the lesson you want to learn from this book or anything like that it was a what did Gerald say to Peggy when this happened like when didn't sheer memorization become
00:55:27the skill that we value above all so before people are like oak there she goes again bashing other teachers question it ask parents ask students ask is this really the best use of our money can we get the same results in other ways war we might not be
00:55:47killing the love of reading for some parents and some kids I mean I have parents that tell me that their kid hates reading because of these programs just like we have to question our own decisions and we should be asking you know starting courageous conversations in our districts
00:56:03when we see programs being implemented or brought in that we know we're going to do harm we need to become the people that stand up and speak up because often parents trust us and so they're not gonna question unless we tell him like whoa this is what's happening
00:56:20how do you feel about it so I guess that probably the only other question that I think is probably really pressings I know I've got a lot of middle and high school teachers listening and I think they're probably thinking what I would have been thinking which is I
00:56:35have a hundred and thirty students you know up to gosh if you're in California up to forty high in the class and so they're thinking okay two things number one how do what do I do with the kids who don't feel like reading or being disruptive and then
00:56:53the other question is how do I if if I can't handle if I can't handle this through some sort of a computer system how do I manage to have these conversations with so many of them is it a matter of just just not as many as you would
00:57:08think that you're sort of touching base maybe once a week with each kid or how are you actually managing the the the bulk of kids right great question because that's my reality to I'd like to a typically teach a hundred and thirty kids and like I said forty
00:57:23five minutes %HESITATION it's it's one conversation at a time and you stop beating yourself up so much I check in with my students I would say on a good but a good schedule every three to four weeks is when I have that one on one conversation with kids
00:57:40because that's how long it takes to get through thirty kids when you're doing two to three kids a day because there's always an interruption right there's always that kid that's like definitely not reading so you need to go check in with them or that kid that desperately needs
00:57:53to bookshop but is completely lost and doesn't know how to book shop so that's where you start with them and you just keep going and I think about especially moving to middle school from elementary where I felt like I knew my students really well like manned by October
00:58:07like we were jivan right it was good community I knew all those kids and like my middle school I'm starting now and and and number two months into the school year go on okay that's who you are like it's state takes for ever and so I think sometimes
00:58:22we get this false sense of security when we do computer programs or thought or other programs were like all I know this kid as a reader but I just wonder like do we know this kid as their data or do we really know them as a reader because
00:58:34though those are two different things and while the data is definitely part of the conversation I need data just like everybody else does it can't be the whole conversation so what it looks like in my classroom like I said it's just check ins %HESITATION two to three kids
00:58:48a day every day during those ten minutes of reading I take very few notes because I just like I just need the most important and I always put it back to them like what is hard on hot what is hard with reading and that kind of becomes my
00:58:59inspiration for any kind of many lessons and then %HESITATION you know the kids that aren't reading you just keep having more patience you you keep having more hope than they do I think of the kid last year he fought me till the last day of school and that's
00:59:14the thing too we cannot go in there and expect every child to change but we can go in there hoping that we can help but the reality of it too is and I tell my students this I'm not here to make you love reading I'm here to make
00:59:29you hate it less and if you already love it that I'm here to protect it with all of my mind but I think of sometimes we are just the tourniquet we are just the the person that comes in and stops it from growing even bigger and hopefully we
00:59:46are passing on a child that the next year's teacher can maybe move further with you know maybe we are just planting seeds but we will not actually see them fully grow and I think of the what this one kid you know it was like some days he flat
01:00:02out refused some days he was disruptive other days I could just slide a stack of picture books and he would actually read a couple picture books and whenever you did in my head I was like and that is of the yeah yeah right there you've read more than
01:00:16you brave if I didn't do anything and I think that that's it right with the programs right like kids can fake their way through our kids can kind of get through it but then if if they still leave us hating reading yeah then we haven't changed them right
01:00:33and I'm thinking to the the super reluctant lower level reader they made they can get through a full year of the program instruction and still and still not have had really any success so before we wrap up because I'm going to just keep urging people because this is
01:00:50really like ten percent of your book covers is there anything that we sort of left out that you really wanted to make sure that we touched on I think the biggest thing and you can do this without anyone's permission or any kind of money is go back in
01:01:06your own classroom and ask kids why why does readings you know and when is reading amazing yeah and then finally asked them how can I be a better teacher for you because that bottom line is everything that has changed me as a teacher has been the truths that
01:01:27my students have so graciously given to me and and said here I don't know what you're gonna do with this but maybe you can do something about it because that's the thing we don't need better systems necessarily we just need to start listening to the kids that are
01:01:44sitting right in front of us going you can do better and then we can work with them to figure this out and the thing is we have to bring those voices and so thank you so much and I'm just there are times when I have people on this
01:02:01podcast for their ideas and then there are times when I just want amazing people to to be heard and to serve as just great role models for the way we should all be looking at our jobs and you are doing both it is just fantastic %HESITATION people confined
01:02:20to the book is passionate readers %HESITATION and I'm going to provide links to everything on the site %HESITATION and then they can find you at up Pernille **** ripped dot com and anything else you want in terms of how people can find you online no I think I'm
01:02:37the only person you'll rip and so on fairly global and the thing is to like I'm not an expert and I know that sounds really self depreciating but it's like I'm just someone who is on a journey to make what I'm doing better and so I think it's
01:02:53really important that people feel empowered by learning from others just like I feel empowered and having learned from so many others and if I can help anyone questioner practices or move forward or try an idea please reach out because we only get better together and I think that's
01:03:10what's incredible with social media it's just like how much we can learn from each other and and not to idolize people but just say Hey we're on this journey of trying to make it better for thank you so much for now for links to all the resources mentioned
01:03:29in this episode visit called the pedagogy dot com go to podcast in click on episode eighty four to get weekly updates on on my newest blog posts podcast episodes in products sign up for my mailing list thirty dot com slash subscribe thanks so much for listening and have
01:03:47a great this podcast is a proud member of the education podcast network podcasts for educators podcast by educators to learn more visit edgy podcast network dot com

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