IRA, Twitter, Close Reading, Home Literacy, Picture Books, Guided Reading, Nonfiction, Streetcars & Shrimp Gumbo in New Orleans

So, can I just say, I'm tickled to bits to be here at the International Reading Conference in New Orleans... rubbin' shoulders with so many greats! Making/meeting old and new friends. It's not even funny. It's seriously cool!  I'm still here. I fly home Tuesday morning.

For those of you that follow my Hello Literacy Facebook page, I posted this the night before I left for the were supposed to infer how I felt about getting ready to leave for IRA....

And for those of you that have not been following my conference tweets on Twitter, @hellojenjones or #IRA14, this blog post is for you. :-)  And I will just get on my Twitter soapbox for one minute to say this, if you are a teacher, or a principal, an author, reader, writer, or have any role in education, YOU SHOULD BE ON TWITTER! Period. It's the best, most current, in touch, virtual, right now, connected,  professional development available to anyone in education. See here.   As Chris Lehman says, "If you can text, you can tweet!" In fact, for those teachers at the conference not on Twitter (but should be) there's a Tweet Suite in the Exhibition Hall where you can stop in for a quick lesson. And when I say quick, I mean quick, like super mini.  It takes 30 seconds to learn Twitter. Not kidding.

The best part about the Tweet Suite yesterday was the Meet & Tweet, where I got to meet some online friends in person.  So fun! This is Heidi from and Lyssa from MyMommyReads.

So my sessions. Yesterday, I went to Frank Serafini's ( session called "Reading Picture Books Closely."  It was FANTASTIC...will definitely be incorporating some of his metavisuality (not sure if that's even a word, but I'm using it)  ideas into my text complexity & close reading presentation.  And then I HAD to go see Chris Lehman again. In the most profession and uncreepy way....LOVE him!!!! I really do. So incredibly easy to listen to.   I am 3/4 of the way through his new book with Kate Roberts, Falling in Love with Close Reading and absolutely love it. Falling in Love with it. You should buy it.  [Sidebar: Based on feedback I have received on my newest Informational Articles for Close Reading, [more on this next week] I have been asked by readers to dedicate a blog post to "my take" on close reading. I will be doing that in the coming weeks.] Again, tweeted throughout that session too, which I had mostly heard at #NCRA14, but I don't care, I could listen to him all day.  And, he presented with the fast talking, no-nonsense, of-course-everything-makes-sense, Mary Ehrensworth, a co-author with him on Pathways to the Common Core.

Went to Mr. B's Bistro for dinner last night, had seafood gumbo, right? Had to, I'm in NOLA.  Oh, and added crawfish roux (stew) to my schema for lunch, too. Forget to say that.  So pretty much by 10PM last night I was pooped. 

But at 7AM this morning I was pumped to start a new IRA day with Timothy Rasinski's session "Home and Family Literacy" Wow!...want to know what he said?  Read my tweets. Best take-away? Singing. Every classroom should be singing. Why? Besides that it's fun...singing is reading. And, it has a way of sticking in your head and you can't get it out. You know what I'm talking about...this shuffle is a form of repeated reading, and reading through singing affects us aesthetically that sometimes reading doesn't.   

Here's something else important he shared. Want to know 21 factors that discriminate between highly effective and less effective schools in literacy achievement? 

41. Phonics Teaching
37. Number of Hours Devoted to Instruction
34. Teacher Readership of Professional Materials
32. Individualized Instruction
31. Informal Assessment
29. Encouragement to Read
28. Student Newspaper in School or Classroom
26. Books per Student in Classroom Library (let's hope they're being used)
25. Emphasis on General Assessment
23. Teacher Readership of Literature
21. Schoolwide Program for the Improvement of Reading Instruction
19. Size of School Library
18. Frequency in Visiting School Library (let's hope they're checking out books.and reading them)
17. Literature Emphasis
12.Frequency in Borrowing Books from the Community (Public) Library
11. Presence of a Classroom Library [what? so they just have to look good on a shelf?!?]
9. Comprehension Instruction
8. Reading Materials Available to Students

2.  ?

1. ?

Want to take any guesses on the #1 and #2 most important factors on literacy achievement?

Check you answer at the bottom of this post. I'll let you think about it. Don't cheat. (And BTW, nobody cheats on accident ;-))

My next session was with Jan Richardson, "Harnessing the Power of Small Group Instruction: Scaffolding Comprehension [and other stuff] During Guided Reading."  As a Reading Recovery trained teacher myself, I totally related to everything she said....I loved it and reaffirmed the importance of guided reading and scaffolding based on what the child is not doing and needs, during guided reading.  

Click on the image to purchase from Amazon....and key phrase is "next step"...want to know what she had to say. Read my tweets. Best tweet of all: 

Did you see that slide?? Can you read that data? Closely? 107 Kindergarten students. 103 of them ESL. By February only 2% of them didn't know 40 letters and now, they are all reading.  Jan says K teachers do not have time to wait til January to start Guided Reading, start it after initial K assessments are completed.

And my last session ended with the ever-funny and super smart, Amanda Hartman from Teachers College Reading Writing Project, who co-presented with Anna Cockerille.  Amanda walked us behind the scenes of her Nonfiction Close Reading Teaching of Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! with 2nd graders and how she teaches students the language and thinking of Accountable Talk. I took lots of pictures. On Twitter.

Me with Amanda Hartman
You might recognize Amanda from her Vimeo, or Vim-ay-o, as she calls it.  Love her too! She's the one who said in my Writing Workshop training....Oral Rehearsal is SO important for young writers. Our youngest writers absolutely have to talk out first what they want to write, before they write. Duh! Makes sense. Do we make time for this? Vital. Have a look at her video by clicking on the pic below.

Also, a big shout-out to other Twitter, now new, friends that so diligently tweeted alongside me.
Me @hellojenjones | Jessie @jessiebmiller |  Lyssa @lyssareads

It's so nice that we were able to reach so many of you in far away places like Arizona, New Jersey, California, Saudi Arabia (and an airport somewhere Justin Stygles), through our tweets. That's how Twitter works! 

I hope to see you's been great running into those of you that have said HeLLo!

2. Amount of Reading Done by Students at Home

1. Schools Worked to Involve Parents in Children's Literacy Development

Where is your school putting all its efforts??   Reading Intervention? Test prep? Worksheets?  Scripted Programs? iPads? ...sounds like the power factor is right in front of us.  Are
we working with it or against it or neither?  Something to think about. Literacy food for thought.

Can you infer what's important about this picture?

Happy (1st) Mother's Day, Ali Scott. You're doing it right. Lucky Esli. 



Courtney said...

Such a wonderful post! I love the picture of the baby reading. SO POWERFUL and right on the money!

Sailing into Second said...

Sounds like it was a FAB conference!! Wish I could have attended! :)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing all that you learned Jen!
I, too, wish I could have attended.
Did Timothy Rasinski offer ways in which to address number 1 - "Schools Worked to Involve Parents in Children's Literacy Development" ? Examples, perhaps, of how other schools got parents involved?
Thank you for your posts! I love reading them!

♥ Owl in a Vowel Tree ♥ said...

Thank you for such a fantastic post! I love the 21 factors, especially 1 and 2!! Responsibility for reading at home, who knew! ;) Can I just say how much I absolutely ADORE the Teacher's College Vimeo account?! I watch those videos ALL the time. Such inspiration! I totally recognized Amanda from the Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! video! Powerful, amazing, inspirational teaching! I can't wait to check out some of your links. Thanks again for all of your updates! I really really really want to go to next year's IRA conference! :)

Ms. Cranfill said...

I was also at the session with Amanda Hartman--fantastic stuff! Jan Richardson's was full when I got there and I was so bummed! It was a weekend full of great information! And lots of fun!

Ms. Cranfill's Class

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