Reflections on Reading/Writing Workshop.

WBTToday was officially my 3rd day of summer vacation. Instead of laying by the pool reading books though, I had an opportunity to attend an incredible reading/writing workshop for secondary teachers presented by Penny Kittle.

Although the presentation was geared towards teachers, it gave me great insight on the process that students (and teachers) go through and how I can support them in the library.

Our Falcon #selfie: Ms. Clarke, Coach Keefner, Ms. Frey, and me

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One of the most exciting ideas that Kittle suggested was using charts and data and having students support a claim for/against using the information. This requires students to think critically and support their position in their own words. I’m already looking for resources for next year!

As a reader and HUGE advocate of reading, I was excited to see Kittle discuss the importance of reading…and reading after school. The amount of time reading greatly impacts a students success in school.

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Kittle gave so many solid ideas on how to motivate and engage secondary students in reading and writing. One of the main points she made was that students need to have control over their reading and writing. They need to have choice and need to understand the writing process.

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This was a very worthwhile presentation. Thank you Katy ISD for bringing such a dynamic presenter to share her experiences and ideas with us!

Every day is Christmas at the Library!

guest blogger

Let’s welcome our very FIRST Tompkins guest blogger, Coach Dye!! Not only is he an amazing track coach, but he is also a HUGE supporter of the library. Check out what Coach Dye has to say about reading and the library.

Coach DyeI hated reading. In high school and college I read because I was forced to. Two books changed all of that. One of my college track coaches would give us excerpts from a book called “Once a Runner” by John L. Parker and I would think he was just running out of ways to motivate us, but I finally got my hands on a copy and read it in 24 hours! It was perfect; it was like the story was about me. The other was “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card. I’ve read that book more than any other. I rarely read a book more than once but I will read Ender’s Game regularly. That brings me to the library.

Tompkins is the 4th school at which I have worked and I have always (for various reasons) frequented the library. At Sharpstown Middle School we had faculty meetings there and I would stick around to see what was new. At Kempner High School I had to go to the library to play the video announcements and I would always have interesting conversations with the librarians since I was in their office every morning. Seven Lakes was the same story. Go to the library, play the announcements, talk to the librarians. Then we started using the “V-Brick” and I didn’t have to go to the library anymore. I missed it and went back every day anyway.

I love Barnes and Noble, I really love Half-Priced Books and I love browsing Amazon. But those places involve spending money. And really it is spending money on something you may only use once. The library is FREE!!! I mean, I usually have over $8 in late fee fines at the public library but at the Tompkins library I can keep stuff as long as I want and no late fees! We take our kids to the public library almost once a week. They check out about a dozen books each and they read every one of them. I check out music, DVDs, and play this game called “Goo” on the computer with my 4 year old son that is basically a foundation for learning how to be an engineer.

When I walked in to the Tompkins library in August it felt like Christmas morning. Everything brand new, so many things untouched. It was amazing… To add to that, our wonderful librarian asked me if there was anything I would like her to order! Now I’m getting special order privileges and it is better than Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Our library has online books, audio books, digital downloads, magazines, videos, iPads, Galaxy tablets, device charging stations, couches, presentation carts, eReaders, databases, a touchscreen wall! And those are just the ones that I know about. Each time I visit the library Ms. Tuttle or Ms. Scanlon tell me about something new they have.

So I have heard people and comedians talk about libraries and no one uses them. Seinfeld has an episode where the library cop named “Bookman” is tracking down old fines and goes after Jerry and his “good-time friends.” Libraries have changed. Every time I go to the public library it is packed. Usually with kids. Isn’t that the way it should be? I feel like a lot of the media (media is plural for medium BTW) and politicians think most Americans are dumb. I disagree; I think most Americans are smart. I see smart people in the library all the time. It’s not smart to buy things that you can borrow for free, but companies want you to buy it; grow the economy. Don’t be not smart, check out stuff from the library.

In the immortal words of Lt. Bookman, “Maybe we can live without libraries, people like you and me. Maybe. Sure, we’re too old to change the world, but what about that kid, sitting down, opening a book, right now, in a branch at the local library and finding drawings of pee-pees and wee-wees on the Cat in the Hat and the Five Chinese Brothers? Doesn’t HE deserve better? Look. If you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you’d better think again.”