Posted on 10/20/2014 at 09:10 AM by Blog Experts

I was lucky enough to attend the 3rd Annual Jacobson Center and Reading Recovery Literacy Academy a couple of weeks ago.  I highly recommend any teacher (classroom, ESL, Reading Recovery, special ed, interventionist, administrator) to attend next fall.  I just want to share a few of my notes from the sessions I attended in the next couple of months.  

Texts as Teachers: presented by Dr. Pat Scarer 

When a teacher is reading to the class, "You know you've made it when the recess bell rings and they don't move" 

What do texts you encounter teacher you about teaching?

1) On being a reader to inspire readers.  Our students are watching us...they need to see us with quality books.  Our read alouds need to be thoughtfully selected.  "You want your ears to have as much fun as your mouth".  

2) On reading a lot.  What if you went into a classroom and timed students reading actual quality books?  How much time is wasted?

3) Depth and Breadth. What's a teacher to do?  Read widely to know a range of books, selct just right books for your students, plan in ways that encourage deep engagement.

4) On our motivation to teach all kids to read.  Research on the brain: children need to feel safe as learners, intervention needs to be timely and strengthen neural pathways in the brian, and children need a community that supports them as learners.

5) How to teach readers and writers together.  "For low achieving children, this "construction" is not going well and something extra must be provided by teachers who are experts at fostering instruction"-Marie Clay

100 Best Books for Children: Our Greatest Books And The Stories Behind Them: Anita Silvey, Children's Literature Publisher and Expert.

It was amazing the stories Anita shared with us about how some very popular children's books came about.  Here's just a few that she mentioned:

"Every book has their own story"

Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel- by Virginia Lee Burton.  Her first book was never published about a dust bunny.  No one was interested in reading a book about a dust bunny. Then she wrote Mile Mulligan and the Steam Shovel who she told this story to her kids so many times.  But the book never really had an ending.  Her son's friend actually thought of the ending for her after he had heard her read the story many times.  She even put a thank you in the book thanking him for the ending.  

Curious George-H.A. Rey Hans and his wife Margaret were in France just before the war had started. The knew they needed to get out of the country but all the trains had stopped by then so Rey had built a bike out of random pieces of old bikes so they could travel out of the country.  They were just a couple of days ahead of the army.  When they got to the border, they were stopped by a border guard.  The guard asked what they did and they told him they wrote children's books.  They showed the guard the manuscript of Curious George and was let through because the guard thought his kids would have liked that story. So Curious George was almost never got out of France. Was originally going to be called FiFI. They used Margaret (his wife) as a model for Curious George.

Where the Wild Things Are-by Maurice Sendak. This book was going to be where the wild horses are but Maurice couldn't draw horses.  So the idea of "wild things" came because of his relatives. They were quite the family. His family used to pinch his cheeks and say "we could just eat you up".  

Because of Winn Dixie- by Kate DiCamillo.  The book had 440 rejections.  The manuscript had been sitting in an office for over a year and finally got a phone call from an editor.  Kate was obviously surprised and couldn't really believe it.  She is the most celebrated author and most rejected author.

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