Friday, July 14, 2017

Disrupting Thinking

Today I'm offering a big standing ovation for Kylene Beers and Bob Probst and their thoughtful and audacious book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters. 

This book is everything right now as I'm thinking about reading in my life, my kids lives, and in my students' lives. Because what makes sense for me as a reader makes sense for my own sons as readers and definitely for all the students I'm lucky enough to serve in my role as an instructional coach. 

In Disrupting Thinking, Kylene and Bob are not afraid to say what needs to be said when it comes to helping students be independent readers. It's not enough to teach students how to read and analyze text. We have to also reach their hearts. 

They write, "...if we aren't reading and writing so that we can grow, so that we can discover, so that we can change - change our thinking, change ourselves, perhaps help change the world - then those skills will be for naught." (p. 20)

The world could be a better place. People make all the difference. Reading fiction or non-fiction impacts us as humans and gives us tools to do work that needs to be done. It helps us know how, get started, and persevere.

In thinking about building cultural proficiency, I see reading as the way in. Reading is an act of humanity. Alfred Tatum says, "It is painful as hell not knowing how to read. Your humanity will not be in tact as we begin to move forward." I couldn't agree more and found myself emphatically nodding along as I read Disrupting Thinking. In chapter four, "The Compassionate Reader", they write, "Compassion should sharpen the readers' ability to see other points of view, other perspectives, and to imagine the feeling of those who hold them." (p. 45) 


They go on to say, "Reading gives us an opportunity to have an intimate conversation with the text, with the author, with oneself, and then ultimately with others." (p. 48) This is where Kylene and Beers introduce the Book, Head, Heart Framework which asks readers to think about what is happening in the book, in their heads, and in their hearts as they read. When we look at reading in this way, we take intellectual engagement to a new level. 

I read because stories make me feel more whole. 
Stories help me navigate the world and navigate my experiences in the world. 
They make me grow, help me connect, and give me strength to make a difference. 

I can't say enough wonderful things about Disrupting Thinking. It's a book I hope all teachers will pick up. Lucky for you, you might just have one coming you away! Thanks to Scholastic for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review and for giving me another copy to share with you!

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