No trinkets. No prizes. No book levels. One school led by Principal Todd Nesloney got rid of it all. Every teacher and every student set a simple goal: read twenty books in one semester. Any book. Any kind. If you hate the book — STOP READING IT.
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As he shares in the show, when Principal Nesloney took over his school of fourth and fifth graders, he inherited many struggling readers. Too many kids were reading at first and second-grade reading levels. After one semester of observing existing programs, Todd didn't see the programs working. So, after working with his staff – they threw out everything. The problem was that most of the kids had never had a book that they wanted to read.
[tweetthis]“When you find the right book it changes your view completely, and you can’t stop.” @techninjatodd #edchat[/tweetthis]
There is no program on earth that can replace educator enthusiasm for meaningful progress. I also love the discussions Todd had with his staff. One colleague was upset because she listened to audiobooks and didn't know if that “counted.” She had tears in her eyes when Todd told her “reading is reading.” No gimmicks – just reading.
Important Take-Aways from Episode 152
- Follow @techninjatodd on Twitter
- Todd's Blog is MEGA INSPIRING. It is a must read for all principals.
- Todd's January 11, 2015, Blog Post “Falling in Love with Reading Thanks to @DonalynBooks” Where Todd set forth his vision for the reading program.
- The Book that started the movement: The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
- Follow Donalyn Miller on Twitter @DonalynBooks (Yes, I'm trying to book her for a future show!)
- A blog post about the “Secret Society of Readers” used by @ofancyfrench (It looks like she's Principal Nesloney's librarian. She tweeted me last week, and I followed the tweet back to her blog. Haven't heard back yet if she's Todd's librarian, so I guess it is a secret. ;-) Either way – this idea rocks!)
[callout]ECM Educators — YOU CAN DO THIS! If you want to improve something, be all in but don't pretend. If reading is important, then we should read. Episode 152 is one of those shows to email and share. Todd rocks it! Oh, and he responded to my email to let me know that his test scores did reflect improvement! Awesome![/callout]
I also want to give big props to ECM Educator, Tammy Brown, for her tweet after listening to the show.
— Tammy Brown (@southernbelle85) June 19, 2015
Leaders are readers and readers are leaders A person who TAKES ACTION when inspired is moving forward a little bit every day. When you hear about a great book, read it. When you hear a best practice, that can help you, learn more about it. When you have a best practice, share it. Educators who care, share. Tammy used the hashtag, cited the original person and let me know on this tweet. Good modeling there, Tammy!
One more point. Some have asked me why I wait a few days between when the show goes live and blogging the show. Well, there are some ECM educators out there who give me so much great information. Several takeaways belonged in this post that were tweeted to me. When you find something awesome or have something to add to a topic – tweet me!
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