Saturday, 28 November 2015



"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him"
Richard Mc Kenna

Every educator should read this book.

The Book Whisperer explains explicitly and clearly as stated on the cover "how to awaken the inner reader in every child."  Donalyn Miller makes the reader reflect on the heart of why we are readers and how to instill the love of reading to everyone in your class.

Miller states in her book that we should be asking ourselves "What is the purpose of reading?" and "What are we trying to promote in our reading program?".  We awaken the inner reader by teaching students to read for pleasure.  

This book put a smile on my face.  Simply put individual choice in what a child reads along with independent reading are two main factors to success.  This makes total sense, after all, as an adult we don't choose to read books that we are not interested in or won't enjoy!  Why would we expect students to read books that they are not interested in?   The classroom library needs to have high-interest books for the students to have choices in selecting books they are interested in reading.

Miller has reached many of the conclusions I have recently.  As a Learning Support Teacher (LaST) I took these principles to develop a volunteer reading program for struggling readers - H.E.A.R.T reading program (Have Every Age Read Together) for older struggling readers.  
You can find this program on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Miller's principles could be used for all students every day all year round to promote lifelong readers. This book will provide teachers with a blueprint for a reading program that will promote a genuine love of reading.

In Miller's classroom students have a 40 book requirement.  She has high expectations and this has had its rewards, however, Miller provides the important ingredients for success TIME, RESOURCES and LEADING BY EXAMPLE.  Miller is an avid reader who demonstrates openly and wholeheartedly the love and passion she has for reading.

I will be writing about other suggestions and tips made in Miller's book in more detail.

My love of quotes will be a Wednesday edition to my blog  called Wednesday's Words of Wisdom. You can also follow my board "Words of Wisdom" on pinterest.

Until next time...

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Five Ways to Motivate Reluctant Writers to Want to Write

1. Picture Books
One of my favourite ways to introduce or teach an area of writing is using a picture book.  I have used picture books to demonstrate settings, character development, sequencing of events, dialogue and story development.  Picture books stimulate discussions regardless of the age of the child and therefore are suitable for both younger and older students.  Wordless picture books also offer ideas for topics as well as assist students to develop their writing skills by allowing students to develop stories both orally and when writing.

2. Student Interests / Student Choice
I have had success with reluctant writers when I have considered their interests when planning my lessons and also providing choices for writing.  I have often observed a student who was totally disengaged with the task at hand change to a student who wanted to write with energy and enthusiasm by incorporating their interests or giving them choice.  Allowing a student to write about an interest such as computer games (Minecraft), sport (soccer), mathematics (lego) will give a student motivation to write and engage in their writing.  Student interest equals power.  The student connects to their interests and therefore will spend time thinking and creating.
Providing choices also provides disengaged students with the opportunity to choose.  This is also valuable when offering activities.  Allowing students to have their personal choice with writing activities empowers them and students will be involved and engaged.
This is also where student surveys have been an extremely helpful tool in both reading and writing as they provide information for the teacher but also send a powerful message to the student that the teacher is interested in them as individuals. 
I created comic strips with a Peanut / Snoopy theme for my reluctant writing group as there was an interest shown by a number of the students.   We read the Peanut comics first and also looked at other comics.
You can see the product on TPT.
For writing prompts you can follow my Pinterest board
Writing Prompts, Graphic Organisers and Rubrics.
This strategy is an amazing tool.  It helps students to develop their writing ideas as they have time to create through drawing details for their writing.  It can be used as a brainstorming activity as well as developing a story.  Students can draw one picture to help them initiate a story or they could draw as you focus on the areas that you want to develop in their stories such as the setting and characters.

3. Writing Buddies
A shared experience is always a fun experience.  Learning shouldn't be an isolated activity.
Writers will talk with their writing buddy about possible characters, plot and setting for a story and the more experienced writer will then write out the story.  The reluctant writer is then actively engaged in the activity.  It is an opportunity for them to get their ideas down and then they feel that their ideas are valued.

4.Writing Fluency/Power Writing and Writing Prompts.
Writing Fluency/Power Writing has been an extremely useful strategy especially for my older reluctant writers.  When the focus is on getting ideas down without focusing on conventions, spelling and other writing requirements the student can focus on writing ideas down more rapidly.
Writing prompts eliminate writer's block and help to inspire the student to write creatively.

5.Graphic Organisers
Graphic Organisers are great tools to provide an outline or suggestion/s to support reluctant writers. There are many useful graphic organisers such as mind-maps, charts, lists and worksheets.  They are used as reminders and are great tools to support reluctant writers.
For writing prompts you can follow my Pinterest boards
Writing Prompts, Graphic Organisers and Rubrics.

 Last but not least provide time, time and more time to write every day. We need to show that we value writing by not only allowing students to write everyday but also the teacher writes as she models to her class that she also values writing.

Sunday, 1 November 2015


They say "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words". 

 Enter at your own risk...
 Anyone for a drink?
 The Grim Reaper...
 Brains for the zombies!
 Trick or treat???

 Coffin dip...
 I scream for fruit!!!

 Dinner by candle light...
Anyone for desert?

It was a wonderful evening with great 
company and fun times but best of all was the next morning when my son said, "That was an awesome party mum, thank you!"