Penny Kittle’s Book Love

Chapter 8 of Book Love by Penny Kittle begins with Kittle telling the reader about the big idea book in her classroom. She gets a bunch of cheap notebooks, and puts major book themes on each of the notebook covers including love, death, coming of age, fate, and etc. Kittle encourages her students to read a variety of books, and write about the books’ themes in the notebooks. She keeps the notebook through the years, so that students, and herself, may make connections between books that other students have read. I really liked the big idea book, and I think it is a great way to encourage students to write about what they have read.

Next, Kittle writes about giving the books that her students’ read an order. This does not mean that Kittle gives her students a list of books to read in order. Her students get to choose their own books. At the end of each quarter, the students put their books in order from hardest to read to easiest to read and give an explanation as to why they put the books in that specific order. This is a good way to know what kind of books are easy/hard for your students, and to get your students to think about their own reading and comprehension.

Kittle also has her students determine their reading rate for each quarter, and write mini-reviews of their favorite books. The most important thing Kittle does for each quarter is have their students set their own reading goals. A student is more likely to want to reach their reading goal if they can set the goal themselves. Kittle encourages teachers to have their students write about their reading, and I agree that this is the best way to have students engage in a piece of writing. A teacher can read the student’s writing about the book to see if the student comprehends the reading.

I really enjoyed reading chapter 9 of Book Love by Penny Kittle. In chapter 9, she discusses the ways that standardized testing isn’t helping students to become readers. Standardized tests push speed reading onto students. Students are asked to read a paragraph or two of text very quickly, and they are expected to comprehend the quickly read test enough to answer the question. Students should be able to read at their own pace in order to encourage an understanding of the reading. Kittle goes on to list the many reasons why standardized tests aren’t teaching our students to be good reader or to love reading. She gives a few things that she does recommend for assessment of reading including student writing reflections about the books, portfolios of student’s reading, and plans and suggestions for the student’s reading given to each new teacher. I agree that standardized tests do not encourage a comprehension of the text. I think the best way to assess students’ reading and comprehension is to discuss the books with the students or have the students write about the reading in a reflection.

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4 thoughts on “Penny Kittle’s Book Love

  1. I’m strongly considering a timeline or a genre list for students to add their books to as they read throughout the year as a visual reminder and model throughout the school year. I’m thinking I have a wall I can add that to and it would be a neat display and encourage discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. She made an interesting point about teachers forming reading groups over the summer. To my mind, local libraries would be great resources and supporters of such an endeavor in terms of providing a safe space and reading materials. What do you think?

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  3. My favorite reading all year in my classes are the final learning reflections my students do. I learn so much about them and about ways I might want to improve my classes. It’s such a valid and valuable tool for evaluating our students and our classes.

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