Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday- Reading With Meaning

This week's selection is one of my text books for my classes this summer.  Yes, you read correctly.  On top of selling our house, finding a new house, raising 2 boys who play baseball non-stop, and keeping my sweet hubby happy.... I signed up for THREE grad classes for this summer.  Before you email me with your concerns about my emotional health- they are online courses through Learners Edge.  My deadline is August 15th.  I can do that, right?  Although I have a Master's degree, I wanted to take more classes to further my practice (and my pay).  After a multiple year pay freeze (times are still tough in Michigan), I decided to take more classes to increase my pay grade- thus allowing me to move closer to work and be able to spend more time with my family.  Short term stress = long term benefits.  Okay.... I'm now just babbling....
When I first started with my student teaching, this was one of my go-to books for second grader readers:
Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller, Ellin Oliver Keene - Reviews ...
I didn't really use it much in kindergarten for those four years.  There were more pressing issues with decoding and finding the bathroom.  First graders were ABSOLUTELY ready for this deep thinking while reading.  Now, Ms. Miller (who I like to call Debbie and pretend that I know her) has published an updated version which includes current research and even more classroom examples of the work in action:
Reading with Meaning {Debbie Miller}
Normally I link to Amazon, but on the Stenhouse site, you can actually preview the entire book for free.  However, I know you will want it just so you can highlight and write all over it as you connect and have those a-ha moments.  There is also a book club study guide (FREE) on the same page.  it's a pdf, so you can download it now and save for the fall.  I've already chatted it up to my friend, Kate (literacy coach), and we will be having a book club when school starts and calms down a bit.  We love our after school book clubs (and snacks!).
So, what's new about this edition?  I have the old edition and it's literally falling apart from so much love.  The focus of the book is now based more on the "how" of the strategies, opposed to "what" they are to young readers.  Debbie has also included some planning forms/ documents to get you started.  I know many of us like our own thing with cure fonts and clip art, but this is a great place to start and inspire you to create your own system for planning.  One thing I noticed with the older edition was that the books used in teaching were getting stale.  Although they are all classics, I was getting sick of them.  Some times, you just need to rotate through the books so you don't project the lack of enthusiasm to your students (not that any of us do!).  As we all dig through the trenches known as the Common Core, Debbie helps us reconcile where this all fits together.
The introduction begins with Debbie's guiding principals and her philosophies on learning to read and comprehend.  From there, she takes the reader through an entire year in a first grade classroom (with kinders and second grade rooms sprinkled throughout).  Each month has a unit of study (sorry if that is a copyright issue with Calkins!), that focuses on comprehension using many different genres.  Each month/ study had a handy chart that addresses:
  • Big Ideas
  • Guiding Questions
  • Supporting Target Lessons
  • Evidence of Understanding
Because you can read the book online, I won't go much farther in the description.  As a side note, Stenhouse Publishers will do this with many of their books when they first come out.  I know that we can all get it cheaper at Amazon, but if I used the Stenhouse FREE resources and tools, I feel like I should buy it from them.  That was the extent of my soapbox :)
Even if you have the first edition, I REALLY suggest you update your teaching by reading the second Edition of Reading With Meaning.
Best wishes!


  1. I love Debbie Diller! I have her reading stations and small group books. Oh and her math book. Looks like I need to add this one to my collection! Thanks for this post!
    Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

  2. Debbie Diller is amazing, but this book is by Debbie Miller :)