Reading in the Wild: Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read {Chapter 1}

Oh. My. Goodness.

I'm so excited to kick this off today!! I cannot start without thanking the fan-tab-u-lous Catherine over at The Brown-Bag Teacher for organizing this book study. This is going to be an awesome adventure this summer!


Misty {at Think, Wonder & Teach} and I are the lucky duck hosts for this week, so let's get started!

Can I just stop and tell you how much I love this quote?

It's so true. Especially today. 

One of the things I love most about summer is the ability to turn off the TV, stretch out on my couch, and just READ. I love being able to "create" quiet when so much of my year is filled with noise. :) It's harder during the school year, but I manage to steal a few minutes most days to read. But summer... I look forward to those days all year long.

So how do we "grow" that desire in our own students? How do we stress the importance of reading outside our classrooms without assigning reading logs?

I loved the idea of planting this seed by making it a part of my Readers Workshop lessons.

I see it playing out a bit like this: 

Mini-Lesson: Much like Donalyn mentioned, I'd talk with students about my weekend, focusing on the places and times I found time to read. While we're chatting I'd start an anchor chart (WILD Readers Can Read...) and list those instances. 

As a third grade teacher, I find my kiddos are a little more "visual" - simply retelling my weekend wouldn't completely relay the message to all of my learners. I'd make sure to mention a time where I forgot to bring a book (even if I have to fib a bit) - and talk with them about why I wish I'd remembered one.

Task: Next, I'd ask them turn and talk with a partner. I want them to talk and think about places they've been able to read outside of school (or our class). Or, as Donalyn suggested - think of places where you were waiting and bored Could you read there? Together we'd add a few more to the chart.

Closing: Give students the challenge of taking a book with them everywhere they go for the next few days. Make note of any "reading emergencies" they encounter. Over the next few days, if students find a place that's not on the chart encourage them to add it. You might even consider starting a class graph to track the different places students catch themselves reading outside your classroom.

What an easy and engaging way to starting building the habit of bringing a book everywhere you go! 

On the other hand, we also have to create time and space for students to read inside our classrooms. 

As a reading teacher this is a bit easier for me. It's my job. However, one of the things I worked really hard to eliminate in my classroom was the "maxi-lesson." It is an independent reading time suck.

People, this is hard. We are teachers. We like to talk. It is really really easy to take a 5-10 minute lesson and let it grow like a wild beast into a 15+ minute lesson. But, it is more important to model a skill or strategy quickly so that our students have time to read. We're going to talk a little more about what our workshops look like in a few days, but I will say this. We have to protect their independent work/reading time like it is gold. Because it is. You can pull the kids who "didn't get it" during guided reading, strategy groups, or for an individual conference. Independent work time is one of the strongest and most powerful tools you have in your teacher basket. Be smart with it.

So what is a wild reader? 

I have always been a wild reader. My nose has been in a book for as long as I can remember. I was the kid who brought a book (or 4) everywhere - the doctor's office, my grandmother's house, the grocery store, and even church... {Sssh! Don't tell my mama!} I don't remember anyone teaching me to do those things, but I do remember my parents encouraging my "habit." 

I know many of my students don't have that kind of support at home. Some of them are lucky, but many of my kids come from parents who struggle with reading in their own language. As I look ahead to next year, these "wild reader" lessons will become even more important. It almost feels like the missing piece! :) 

Then we have the kids who are not wild readers. I think they might even be "wildly allergic" to reading. HA!! I love the warning signs Donalyn mentioned and I thought (as I'm sure you did too) of a dozen kids who fit each description. 

I also thought her observation strategy was brilliant and I really loved that it was something I could do over the course of three days. I especially appreciate that she mentioned the need for "delicacy and caring" when conferring with our fake readers. We don't want them to feel as though they're under attack, we want to give them an opportunity to look at reading in a different way. If we want our students to fall in love with books, we have to find ways to connect with them. These conferences shouldn't come across as a "gotcha" moment. 

Finally, I want to leave you with a freebie that will grow as our book study progresses. I'll add pages to it throughout the summer. I would love to hear from you if there's something in Reading in the Wild that you think we should add as well. 

Click to download!

As of today's post, the freebie pack includes: 
  • "Wild Readers Can Read..." anchor chart and sample
  • Reading Itinerary pages for students
  • Reading Observation forms for teachers

I hope you're enjoying this book as much as we are. Don't forget to check in with Misty - she has some fantastic insights to share with you as well! 

Think, Wonder, & Teach

If you're a blogger, link up with us below. I can't wait to see what everyone else is thinking about our book study so far!


  1. Ha! Wildly allergic- that's a great way to put it! I loved reading what you took away from this section- thanks for hosting today! :)
    ideas by jivey

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head! The best way to find more independent reading time in our classrooms just might be to cut down on teacher talk! Even cutting out 5 minutes a day can really add up! Thank you for the wonderful FREEBIE, too!

  3. Wow, wow, wow! There are SO many things I love about this. First, I am loving summer, too. I can read as much as I want without feeling like I should be doing something else. It's GLORIOUS! Also, I love Miller's observation notes. Such an intentional way to target and intervene for students who are fake reading...and we ALL have those friends! Third, I love your choice of quote. Three fantastic reminders. :) Thank you SO much for hosting, Abby!

  4. I love the mini lesson you have setup as well as the anchor chart. I know even my second graders would see coming up with places/times to read as a fun challenge. Thanks for starting the resource pack to go along with the book!

    Literacy Spark

  5. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I love your post! I am a third grade teacher as well who is trying to find how this is going to fit into my reading class. As I was reading the chapter, I had envisioned a mini-lesson but was a little unsure of some logistics but you cleared those up for sure! Thank you so much for the freebie!!! I will be back!

  6. Great post! I loved hosting this week with you. The mini lesson is excellent! I never thought of creating an anchor chart with my class. I need to remember to do that. In my last school paper was at such a premium we were limited to what we were told we had to create for anchor charts during the year. Yes... told to create. We had 1 piece of paper per topic assigned to be on an anchor chart. Ahh... the things you learn as a new teacher.


  7. This book is great! I found myself thinking, "oh yeah! That kid was a "fake reader"! I love that! And I love the idea of the anchor chart at the beginning of the year. I am definitely doing that! I am so happy to find LOTS of time to read this summer. I think I'm going to take pics of myself and show my kids next year, so they can see their teacher reading, and maybe that will encourage them to find those anywhere moments to read.
    Looking forward to next week!

  8. Thanks for hosting this link up! I LOVE your idea of making an anchor chart that students can add to!
    P.S. Thanks for the freebies! :)