Educational Book Published by Two Local Teachers and Librarian
"Personalized Reading: It's A Piece Of Pie" is available online today.
Three Peters Township School District employees have been intriguing students with their PIE (Personal, Independent, Enrichment) reading program for eight years. Now, they seek to spread the word for other educational leaders to follow. Their enrichment supplement, "Personalized Reading: It's A Piece Of PIE," is officially published today.
Nancy L. Hobbs and Kristen M. Sacco, third grade teachers at Bower Hill Elementary, and Myra R. Oleynik, Bower Hill Elementary's K-5 library media specialist, were "looking for a way to encourage kids to read more." Their book is an educational guide for teachers to incorporate the PIE program into their daily lesson plans.
The PIE program allows students, of differing learning levels, to select what they really want to read.
"The premise being that reading is personal," said Hobbs. "That's our main thing. You read as an adult because you have the choice. We took those habits and found a way to bring it down to an elementary level."
"So often the books are chosen and children don't have a choice," said Sacco. "With this program, they do, as it's centered around the genres."
PIE encompasses four main genres: realistic fiction, fantasy fiction, biography and historical fiction. The children are placed in PIE groups where they complete the reading and then share what they read with other students.
"The children meet once a week with their PIE group," said Hobbs. "It's conducted like a book club."
Viewed as 21st century learners, they have the children sharing their books through many mediums, whether it's a podcast, a slideshow or VoiceThreader, said Oleynik.
Regardless of the way they choose to present their story element summary, the children always have their book displayed on a stand. "It's so students can all see the book," said Sacco.
The students visit the library with their teacher and Oleynik takes them through the process of choosing a book. She labels the books with different challenge levels and the students go through and rate them like you would "a restaurant review."
"I'll interview them," said Oleynik. "They learn to articulate what they're looking for in a book. They don't end up walking out with three "Harry Potter's" they're never going to open."
The three women find getting through to students is particularly easy in the Peters community.
"We are very fortunate to have families that make book fairs sell out," said Hobbs. "I'm certain that there are other places where that isn't as prevalent. We'd love to take this program places."
They see students realizing their own opinions matter and anxious to read the next book on their list. They aren't rewarded with prizes, points or a chart. "The program is completely intrinsic," said Hobbs. "Reading for the joy of reading."
They also see students connecting what they're reading to their own lives. "They have so much pride in their journals," said Oleynik.
Eventually, they follow up to an eight-piece pie and continue to read around the pie until the year ends. But, the reading doesn't stop there. Hobbs said students continue to e-mail her over the summer, regarding what they're reading or if they can have blank PIEs because they want to read all summer.
"'Personalized Reading: It's A Piece Of PIE' is another tool in their tool kit," said Oleynik, in regard to college students studying to be teachers.
"I know there is not another workbook out there that's going to do as much for children at this level, " said Hobbs.
This parent-student-teacher program is one that has outlasted many. "Programs come and go, but this is one thing that we've kept that has truly gotten better," said Hobbs. "We have not let it go."
This inexpensive program is easy to incorporate in lesson plans. The three women all agreed if you have a teacher and/or a librarian who's interested, and you have a fairly decent collection of books, all you need is the guide.
"Personalized Reading: It's A Piece Of PIE" is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, among other book retailers. If you're interested in a book presentation for parent groups, schools, colleges or libraries, please e-mail Nancy, Kristen or Myra and visit their website.