Relevant Reading: Connecting Students to What Matters

Aug 13, 2017

As summer winds down, I reflect on what I've learned this summer through the workshops I've attended, the books I've read, and all the great conversations I've had with professionals.

This quote has had me thinking quite a bit.  It comes from Disruptive Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst.  What they state is absolutely true.  Students need to find relevance in what they are doing right now.

So let's backtrack a little...
I have always been about purpose.  I look at what I'm teaching and ensure that what we are doing serves a purpose.  And I share that with students.  Understanding why we are doing something is very important to me.
Interest is also imperative.  I have always tried to make sure that I am matching the books I choose to the interest of my students.  Interest surveys, conversations, and book selection time have always been informative to me.

But relevance.  This is something much deeper.  It is something you are connected to.  It is something that MATTERS. 

Well...and when I think about I really read anything that isn't relevant to me?  Nope. Not really.

So what do I do now?  I've been thinking a lot about it and my first step is to just ask my first graders.  What issues or problems matter to you? So I added it to my interest survey (click to grab for free):

From there...I will need to get creative.  They are new readers.  And some of them may share some big issues and some students may not. But I need to be prepared to help them make connections to what matters to them and the books we are reading.  And I am up for the challenge because Beers and Probst state that:
"If they are to undertake anything significant in the future, it will be because they have learned the importance of significant work early on in their schooling."
This statement says a lot.  We need our students out there doing significant work.  We need them to have a voice.  So we need to help them find that voice...even at a young age.



  1. Great, just great. I'm encouraged to ask my kinders what matters to them. Thanks!

  2. Wow. This just makes me think. Significance is huge, and I know I miss the mark too often. Thank you for the timely reminder!


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