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Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading to Understand

How do you help students become engaged, capable readers? By helping them become self-directed readers. Reading achievement skyrockets when students internalize the process of monitoring their understanding. In Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading to Understand, teachers learn how to use guided reading, shared reading, read-alouds, literature groups and other research-based practices to help students make sense of text. Participants discover how to teach key strategies such as inferring and summarizing explicitly. Most important, they find out how to constantly confer with students to ensure understanding. As students become self-directed, they learn to select appropriate texts, problem solve, self-correct, and set realistic reading goals.

Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading to Understand includes the following professional development sessions and video segments:

Session 1: Welcome to Regie Routman in Residence
Introduces the core beliefs about teaching and learning that support this professional development program and gives an overview of the structure of the PD sessions.

Session 2: Applying an Optimal Learning Model to Your Teaching
Participants explore a three-part model for teaching and learning that makes teaching easier, more intentional, and more joyful because it scaffolds students’ independence.

Session 3: Examining Our Beliefs About Reading to Understand
Participants examine their own current beliefs about reading to understand with an eye toward developing a consistent set of goals and practices across the grades.

Session 4: Knowing Yourself as a Reader
Participants learn how to share their reading lives with students, to organize an outstanding classroom library, and to keep a reading record.

Session 5: Helping Students Choose a Just-Right Book
Participants learn how to set up the routines and structures for students to appropriately self-select texts from the classroom library and to spend most of reading time focused on reading texts for understanding.

Session 6: Checking Students’ Understandings Through Informal Reading Conferences
Through conducting informal reading conferences, participants learn how to monitor all students’ reading: how to focus on students’ strengths, teach what’s needed, and set new goals with and for students.

Part of this session’s video is available for preview.

Session 7: Using an Informal Reading Conference to Change a Child’s Reading Life
Participants observe a former struggling reader as she discusses how an informal reading conference served as a catalyst to raise her expectations, assume more responsibility, and increase her reading achievement and enjoyment.

Session 8: Thinking Aloud with a Nonfiction Text
Participants learn how to use an informational picture book with students to think aloud about their process of navigating the key features of nonfiction text and determining the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary.

Session 9: Shared Read-Aloud with a Nonfiction Text
Participants learn how to use an excellent nonfiction text to demonstrate comprehension strategies such as predicting, inferring, and summarizing. They discover how to make these whole-group and small-group demonstrations more effective with think-alouds, projected text pages, turn-and-talk, and other techniques.

Session 10: Grouping for Guided Reading in the Intermediate Grades
Participants learn how to form small groups as needed and apply the Optimal Learning Model to teach for and assess learning gaps that impede comprehension such as problems figuring out multisyllable words and/or understanding character motivation. They learn how to pose high-level questions to students about books that compel them to think independently and infer, which raises the level of discourse. Participants also examine grouping practices at their school for fairness and effectiveness.

Session 11: Accelerating Readers Through Guided Reading
Participants learn how to discern when students are good word readers are but not reading for meaning, then remedy that issue through small-group work and assessment that places more responsibility on students for reading for understanding. They learn how to bring out the voices of English language learners during these guided reading groups.

Part of this session’s video is available for preview.

Session 12: Developing Independence Through Oral Retelling and Summarizing
To help students independently understand what they read, participants learn how to demonstrate, think aloud, scaffold, and guide developing readers to retell a familiar story and to guide more skilled readers to discern, discuss, and record the main ideas of a text.

Session 13: Facilitating Student-Directed Literature Conversations
Participants learn how to set up, guide, monitor, and assess multiple, self-directed small groups so that students can collaboratively think through, problem solve, and discuss a high quality text and apply this structure across the curriculum.

Session 14: Re-examining Our Beliefs and Celebration of Learning
Participants revisit beliefs and goals established in Session 3, discuss how their beliefs and practices have changed, view an interview with a tenth-grade student whose life was changed by an informal reading conference in fifth grade, and celebrate all they have learned and accomplished in the professional development year.

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