Nerdy Book Club Session at NCTE

This afternoon, there will be a session entitled Relevance, Relationships, and Reading Lives: Fostering Reading Engagement in All Readers. Whether you’re in Boston for NCTE with the potential to join us or if you’re at home and wondering what you’re missing, we thought that Nerdy Book Club readers might appreciate a peek at what we are planning to share.

Donalyn Miller

We can spend hours determining what students should know and be able to do, and crafting instruction to accomplish the desired results, but without including students rights’ to an engaging, trustworthy, risk-free place in which to learn, what we teach will always fall short. Australian researcher, Brian Cambourne (1995), identifies the following factors, which contribute to successful learning circumstances:

  • Immersion- Students need to be surrounded with books of all kinds and be given the opportunity to read them every day. Conversations about reading— what is being read and what students are getting from their books—need to be an ongoing event

  • Demonstrations- Students require abundant demonstrations in the structure and features of texts, how to use texts for different learning goals, and how to access the information in them.

  • Expectations- Students have personal goals for their academic and personal literacy development. Teachers should set meaningful expectations for reading and writing.

  • Responsibility- Students need to make at least some of their own choices when pursuing learning goals. As Cambourne states, “Learners who lose the ability to make choices become disempowered.”

  • Employment- Students need the time to practice what they are learning within the context of realistic situations.

  • Approximations- Students need to receive encouragement for the skills and knowledge they do have and be allowed to make mistakes as they work towards mastery.

  • Response- Students need nonthreatening, immediate feedback on their progress.

  • Engagement- Even with all of the other conditions in place, Cambourne identifies engagement as the most important condition for learning which must exist in a classroom. Reading must be an endeavor that:

  • Has personal value to students

  • Students see themselves as capable of doing

  • Is free from anxiety

  • Is modeled by someone they like, respect, trust, and want to emulate

Students must have buy-in, believing that they can read and that reading is worth learning how to do well. We have to build a community that embraces every student and provides acceptance and encouragement no matter where students are on the reading curve.

Colby Sharp and Jenni Holm

Straight to the Source: Skyping with Authors in an Elementary Classroom

Connecting readers to author and illustrators can provide students will reading memories that will last a lifetime. We will share five ways to effectively connect young readers to their favorite authors and illustrators.

Teri Lesesne

Facilitating Engagement in an Online Environment

Keeping us all connected when there is no time for face-to-face meetings is a problem I have been tackling for several hers since our MLS program went to an online format.  How can I develop the same sort of community and engagement as I did when I met students in a FTF format?  My part of the session will focus on creating community and engagement in an online environment.  We will look at apps, websites, and assignments that help create a sense of community even under these circumstances.  The PowerPoint from the presentation can be found here:

Kellee Moye

Helping Struggling Readers Find Their Inner Reader
Struggling readers are sometimes the hardest to get reading and they are the ones that need it most, but there are ways to get these students to fall in love with books. I will set out ways to help these readers find their passion for reading. Although the ideas I share will work for any reader, struggling readers need them. Struggling readers normally find reading to be a chore–it is our job to show them that it is way more than that and that there are books out there that are just for them.
You can find my presentation at

Katherine Sokolowski

Using Reading Conferences to Increase Student Engagement

Conferring with readers in our classroom is an important component to any reading workshop program. My portion of our session will show how I moved from struggling to find the “right way” to confer, to giving up conferences for some time, to my classroom today. I will share what I have learned along the way about reading conferences and how they can create engagement in your readers. I use conferring to build connections between students, between students and authors, and between students and myself. Reading conferences went from being the worst part of my day to what is now my favorite.

You can find my presentation at

Cindy Minnich

Building Reading Habits through Student Reflection and Goal-Setting

The reading lives of students change over time and even the ones who were avid readers before will need help adjusting to each new stage of their lives so that they can build and maintain their reading habits outside of our classrooms. We can help students recognize the effects of those changes – to their time, to their interests, to their development as readers – so they can learn how to adjust their reading lives in a way that keeps them reading.

You can find my presentation at

If you’re mobile and would like to be able to see the YAPP app that Teri put together, you can go to on your mobile device!