Disrupting Thinking Book Study Part 2

Kylene Beers

It’s time to share our thoughts about the second section of “Disrupting Thinking” by Beers and Probst–a week late but here nonetheless!  Sorry about the delay–it’s been an eventful few weeks for me. Son onward to my musings about the text and its impact on teaching reading comprehension.

When I first read this section, I think that what first piqued my interest was that we truly got into the “meat” of this book–this idea of “disrupting” our thinking and reading to be changed.  If this idea that reading should trigger change in us is new to you–you aren’t alone.  For years we have read (and had our students read) to make connections, to find out how it ends, or to make a story map–but to be CHANGED by it?  Certainly not something most of us have discussed with students, especially at the elementary level.

Without giving away too much of the book–because no one can state it as articulately and as passionately as the authors, the gist of this section revolves around reading around what is in the book, what is in your head, and what is in your heart.  A simple formula, right?

Kylene Beers

If you haven’t read the book “Notice and Note”, you might want to grab a copy of it to help you understand more about what the “signposts” are.  These signposts truly changed the way I interacted with students about texts–and they helped ME be a more thoughtful reader.  Again, it’s too much to include in a blog post (#readthebookitisworthit) but giving students language and ideas to dig deeper into texts is so powerful.

So after this next section, I have a few MORE questions that I need to ponder–and would love for you to add your thoughts about!  If you haven’t read the book, feel free to add your comments as well, but if you HAVE read this section, I’d like to know your reflections on all or some of the following:

1.  What are some of the best questions you ask to get these deeper discussions going with students?

Like I said last week, I love our social issues unit–but I have found that by carefully choosing texts to read aloud (picture books, articles, novels, etc) students have NO shortage of ideas they wish to talk about!  I really love it when we find connections between texts.  For example, we read “The Tiger Rising” early in the year and later in the year read an article about poaching.  I didn’t have to plan out too many questions because the text selection made it happen.  I think I said something like, “Hmmm…so what are you thinking?” and that’s all we needed.  Some of the best questions I use aren’t specific to the text but are more general–like “I wonder what the author was thinking when she wrote that…” or “What choices did ____ have?”.  What are YOUR thoughts on quality questions?

2.  This section also refers to the idea of teaching social activism through our reading instruction–at a developmentally appropriate level, of course.  Think about texts you have used that might lend themselves to this idea and share them.

It’s interesting because I teach in an area with very mixed political beliefs and have always been extremely careful about how I present social topics.  That being said, by tying everything back to EMPATHY, I think I am always helping students look beyond the obvious, beyond what they see on the news, and beyond what they hear at home.  We want students to be thinking about the impact words and actions have, right?  It can be a slippery slope if not handled with finesse.  Thoughts?

3. The book refers to the BHH framework (book, head, heart).  What are some ways that we can work to get students thinking about texts (both informational and fictional) at each of these levels?

I think by their very nature, children are curious.  As teachers, I believe we need to put them in positions to be able to tap into that curiosity, share their ideas, and LEARN about their ideas.  Being mindful of how we introduce texts, how we create a climate where reading to learn and reflect is expected and enjoyed, and how we reward “good” reading…and by “good” I mean thoughtful and meaningful.  I think we need to have more discussions as teachers about what “good” readers are!  I’d love to hear your ideas as well!

I hope you are enjoying the book and are starting to do some thinking about the implications for you and your students.  Like last week’s post which you can find by clicking HERE,  I’m hoping to get some great ideas from the rest of you!  Still need a copy of Disrupting Thinking?  Here is an Amazon affiliate link if you are interested.  Stay tuned for the ending next week–and please share your ideas below or on my FB page.  Let’s learn from each other

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Kylene Beers