As a child, I was not a very avid independent reader. My earliest memories of literacy are either reading Romona with my aunt before bed or sitting on the public library floor reading graphic novels or comic books such as Peanuts, The Family Circus, Calvin and Hobbes, The Simpsons and Garfield, to name a few. Although I have some early memories of reading, I struggled to tap into a love for literacy which was primarily due to the inactive nature of reading. From the time I could walk, I was on the move and always preferred playing outside than sitting and reading. It wasn’t until high school that I can recall specific novels sparking a deeper interest in reading. Two of which were Lord of the Flies by William Golding and Drifters by James A. Michener. Michener’s adventurous and enthralling narratives and his in-depth character development and intertwined with expertly documented events in history gripped me from the beginning. Drifters not only sparked a more impactful love for reading but also uncovered my penchant for historical fiction.
My colleagues and mentors -Sue Frerking & Teresa Winterstein cultivated my passion for teaching literacy, during my role as a middle school educator at Concordia International School, Hanoi. At this point in my career, I was introduced to the readers and writers workshop model. This model not only provides structure and flow to commonly taught literacy units but allows for more student choice, and supports teacher differentiation for different learning needs.
I have always known the power of reading and writing to foster students’ cognitive brain growth, vocabulary development, critical thinking, communication skill, and creativity. As a literacy teacher, I promote a variety of literacy skill development, and I believe it is valuable and essential for students to build positive reading habits. To start building said habits, I think students should be empowered to choose the books they read and encouraged to read for at least 15-30 minutes a day. A wealth of research exists to support daily reading practices at middle school age, even younger, and giving students a choice over what they read, cultivates a sense of ownership and responsibility for their reading and learning journey.
Below you will find links to three study units I have developed with curated content from various sources, using the readers and writers workshop model as a foundation for each unit.