Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wonder Wednesday #59...

Wonder Wednesday - The GIFT of Teaching Reading

*As I begin this new school year, there are many new changes happening for me at school.

*I'm feeling the WONDER and JOY of my profession and wanted to share a bit with you here...

This Wednesday's post finds me a very satisfied teacher.  This school year is a full-circle moment for me.  Hopefully by now if you follow this blog, you know that my passion is reading and books.  I believe it was my destiny to become a teacher and specifically a reader teacher.

Entering this school year brings my 24th year of teaching.  When I think about that number it boggles my mind.  I don't know how the past 24 years went so quickly.  It seems just like yesterday that I was in my children's literature class raving about Bridge to Terabithia.  As each year went by my passion and interest in teaching reading grew and grew.

With my professional reading, attending professional development classes, and reading as many middle-grade books as I could, I came to a place where I felt solid and comfortable in what my students needed in the area of literacy.  At the same time, it could be frustrating because not everyone on my team and/or building were on board with the current practices of creating life-long readers.

Year after year I kept building my classroom library and promoting all the wonderful new and current books for young readers.  I could see, hear, and feel the excitement grow each year with my readers.  The reading zone, conferring, read aloud, book talks, and the sharing between readers brought so much satisfaction and joy to me professionally and personally.

As my district, and school, began to change in the way we schedule our day, the idea of "departmentalizing" came into conversations last spring.  I was always against this type of model because I wanted to keep my own homeroom students.  But I realized they might be getting a solid reading foundation, but may be missing some key science and social studies aspects.  Hey, we can't do it all!

The discussion grew and grew and my team decided to try something new this year as far as our scheduling goes.  The area of literacy was literally put in my lap and I couldn't have been more happy.   Not only would I get to work with my own students during the literacy block, but I would also have the opportunity to teach and interact with the other two sections.  Yep, you got it right.  I get to teach three language arts class.  Specially I will be teaching fiction, vocabulary, and literacy skills/strategies.  Sounds like heaven doesn't it.

Being six days into this current year, I am finding so much joy during my school day.  We have been building our reading workshop with the theme of "Reading in the Wild."  Many of my beginning lessons are coming right from Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller.  Not only do I get to create 30 wild readers from my own homeroom, but about 90 students from the entire grade level.

When looking back over my career, I think it has all been leading up to this moment in year twenty-four.  My calling is to touch as many young readers as I can and foster a "wild reading" life for each and everyone of them.

It will be a year of hard work, new learning, and lots of new opportunities, but I ready for the new chapter, challenge, and incredible WONDER of a GIFT I get from teaching reading to these amazing fourth grade readers...


  1. Patrick - I have been the reading/writing teacher for our fourth grade classes for three years now. Departmentalizing has been an amazing experience for me. I've loved the opportunities it has given me to focus on what I love, and share my knowledge with between 60 and 90 children every year. I adore it. I'm so glad that you are able to have this experience :)

  2. Thanks for reading and responding. It is an exciting time for me and I'm so thankful to get this opportunity. Have a great year!