Over the summer, I read the book Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, along with many of my colleagues, and took part in this summer's #cyberPD of the book. I enjoyed every minute reading the book and found many useful tools and ideas to implement in my own classroom.
One of these ideas immediately struck me as something that would greatly benefit not only my classroom, but out entire building. Reading Doors. Donalyn explains in her book that school staff in her building utilize door space at the start of the year and decorate their doors with the materials they read over the summer. Donalyn goes a step further and allows her students to decorate the door with books they love a few weeks into the school year. What a great way to visually show students the importance of an active, wild reading life!
I decided that this would fit perfectly with the goals and focus of our building and asked that everyone start the year off with a summer reading door. What a great response I got! Many were excited and had thought the same when reading the book. Some weren't sure how to create a summer reading door when they don't read books often. I offered my help to any who needed it and tried to brainstorm ideas for materials with those who seldom picked up a traditional novel.
As the school year has started for teachers, and will soon start for students, the doors are almost all covered now. I got to share the purpose of these doors with all of the parents and students present at open house last night, encouraging them to beginning conversations with their children about the materials on the doors. Although much of what our staff read was traditional books, we also have e-readers, tablets, blogs, magazines, newspapers, brochures, playbills, and postcards displayed on various doors. Keeping with our focus of creating a family reading community, many teachers have used their doors to showcase what they read with their children over the summer. Several of us have two classroom doors and are keeping one reserved for our students to create a class summer reading door.
Not all of the doors are completed yet, as our students don't start until Wednesday, but already it has created an atmosphere of reading and truly shows the value of reading in everyone's life. I'm very happy with how well this has gone. It has been a little more work on my part, helping so many of my colleagues in order to get this done, but it is every bit worth it.
I plan on having more photos of all the doors up soon and of writing a Part 2 that shows the doors that our students make once the year begins.
UPDATE Aug. 21, 2014: A slideshow of the reading doors has been added to the top of my blog.