Instructional coaches are the lead learners in a school. As leaders, we must remain lifelong learners and share that learning with others. When we share and connect with others around our learning in very public ways, we invite connections with others based on our learning habits, interests and inquiries.

I find it's especially important to cultivate our own reading and writing lives and then offer them like a beacon of light for other teachers and students to gain inspiration from, so here are a few ideas to consider trying with teachers to help them make their reading and writing lives visible, too:

Jazz up your ID badge. I first learned of an idea like this from John Schu, an Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic. He used to create stickers showcasing the books he was reading and literally stick them to his shirt each day so students would always have a new title to learn about. While you could certainly do this, tucking a small image of a book cover into your plastic ID badge could have the same effect. You could even simply write the name of the book you are reading on your ID card to launch conversation around books. 

Grab a whiteboard and start sharing titles. Picture frames filled with glitter, rather than pictures, work well for this too. Simply grab a dry erase marker and jot the title you are currently reading on the whiteboard or picture frame. Keep it front and center in your coaching space and change the title incentive to keep your own reading life going strong, too!

Create a ‘What I’m Reading’ wall. This can be as simple as writing the title you are currently reading on a sign outside of your classroom door. I like the one Amy Wabiszewski uses to highlight the different books she is reading across her reading life, in person and online. Or, you might jazz it up a bit and post the covers of the books you have read to celebrate your growing reading life.  Take a look at this Reading Wall from @LitCoachConnect here:

And if you REALLY want to have some fun, add some emojis to the mix! Create a simple 'What I'm Reading' slide in Google Docs and add your personal emoji and the cover of the book you're reading. Here's a simple slide I recently created:

Print out the slide to post on your classroom door or simply insert it into your email signature, instead. It's also a great way to open virtual sessions with teachers as students as an invitation for teachers to share their own titles in the chat box. You might be surprised at the reading you inspire around you.

Create a digital reading wall.  There are a few options here based on how you like to share your books with others. If you prefer sharing text covers, images or audio clips, then choose Padlet to showcase your titles. If you want to create short ‘selfie-style’ videos to share the books you are reading, then try Flipgrid instead. Take a look at my Padlet wall below for inspiration and then head to this Flipgrid page for video examples from authors' themselves

Consider using social media to share your reading with the world. Goodreads is a social platform that encourages readers to connect with other readers. Readers share the books they are reading, find book recommendations and discuss their reading with others. Go ahead and browse the site and connect with me there! You might create a dedicated hashtag for your teachers to share their literate lives, like Jill Davidson and colleagues do using #ASDWReads and #ASDWWrites. 

Or, you can head to Twitter or Instagram and browse your favorite hashtags for reading. Here are mine:

  • ​#shelfietalk​
  • ​#titletalk​
  • ​#weneeddiversebooks
  • ​#kidsneedbooks
  • ​#booklove
  • ​#ProjectLITchat
  • #MGBookVillage

Looking for a way to bring teachers (and students!) into the reading celebration? Try a reading graffiti wall! Dedicate one wall of the faculty room (or the school, if inviting students to join) and keep a stack of sticky notes and colorful markers (which you know are my favorite tools!) close by. Encourage teachers to share a recommended title on a sticky note and post on the wall for others to literally steal as a reminder of what they could read next. It's a beautiful blend of reading give-and-take!

So, there you have it! What other ways do you help teachers make their reading lives visible?

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