Often I am asked, "Do I have to read the book to utilize Blackbird & Company literature guides?" My response is a resounding, "No, you get to read the book." Understanding the challenges involved in this fast paced world, I move quickly to clarify.
Creating a tradition of reading books alongside children and discussing them at length has profound results. When we dare to embrace the truth that a great multitude of language arts standards are met while digging into and responding to literature, basing the language arts program on books makes sense. By combining our literature discovery guides with a phonics program early on or a grammar program and a classic roots vocabulary program at the upper levels, the language arts standards are satisfied to overflowing!
Our goal is to empower teachers to become mentors, free from the confines of a tedious and often frustrating language arts schedule that sacrifices golden opportunities to nourish and nurture the child’s heart. Blackbird & Company guides provide a systematic framework for discovery, enabling students to develop the tools necessary to independently analyze and respond to great stories, doing away with the need for time-consuming teacher preparation. This is where the clarification begins and preparation comes in. Preparation for the teacher utilizing Blackbird & Company literature guides is simple: Read and discuss books with your students.
Nothing fosters the higher-level thinking that allows students to form ideas and opinions about real life more than hashing through a story in a discussion circle. With discussion questions built into every section, weekly interaction between you and your students is simple. Each question is designed to spark student’s memories of the story, trigger their interpretations, and to get them thinking beyond the page about how a story can relate to their actual lives. In time, students who participate regularly in a discussion circle will become excited and amazed about what they glean from books.
Usually, after working through several guides, the feedback from teacher-mentors is this, "Oh, I get it, all I have to do is read a book!" Then the conversation shifts to their sharing what they gleaned from the reading, to what they gleaned from the insights of their students, to how their language arts program has been transformed. I smile and exclaim, "Aren't books grand?"
Discussion circles can take many forms, from a one-on-one child and adult, to a group of children led by an adult. The key to the interaction is the adult participating with the child as a mentor.
Consider the following when putting a group together:
Comfort & Size