I remember the first time the understanding of reading like a writer really sunk in. I was at a beginning Writer’s Workshop seminar as a support with my team from school and had just been appointed the Writing Coach position that spring. Oh, yes, I enjoyed writing and the workshop philosophy that so supported the struggling special ed students I had been working with. But, when the workshop trainers began to share books and state what skill each might be used for, I was awestruck. I remember thinking, “How do they do that? How do they know so many books?”
Well from that time six years ago, I took Katie Wood Ray’s advice in her book, Wondrous Words, and began reading books. I would go to the library and sit, pulling book after book after book, reading. The words flowed and swirled around me like a sweet aroma, savoring the love of the story. That summer, my understanding of reading like a writer grew, until presently, I can’t read a book without noticing the craft placed within.
I’m on a new adventure. My insightful and supporting friend, Ruth Ayres, challenged me to move from my comfort zone at PES to a broader range through blogging. “This will help your writing,” she says. And since I trust my friend and want to grow as a writer myself, I am taking the leap. From To Understand by Ellin Oliver Keene, my title emerged.
“We struggle for insight; we savor and learn from the struggle itself; we venture into new learning territory and fight the debilitating influence of judgment. (p.102)”
My goal is to share favorite books that I use for Writer’s Workshop. The books may be used for mini-lessons in a whole group setting or for conferencing. I do not claim to be the guru of books, but I love sharing my insights and connecting classrooms with great reads. Connecting teachers to books for lessons and background knowledge in content areas brings joy to my life. May you find a book to savor, use, and cherish.