I have a confession to make: I am a fast reader. And sometimes, too fast. I devour books in the moment and savor their lessons, but less than one month later might have difficulty recalling the title to share with a friend. Actually, if I’m completely honest, I tend to do everything too fast and rush through moments that I would enjoy much more fully if I were just a bit more present. But, I’m working on it, especially in my reading life.
I recently viewed Jacqueline Woodsen’s TED Talk called 'What Slow Reading Taught Me About Writing' and it impacted me tremendously. Sure, fluent reading is desired, but reading that impacts my thinking, my life, is my ultimate goal. So, I try to pace my reading, take breaks to take stock of my thinking and develop habits to deepen my understanding and the impact the text has on me.

One habit I have developed is to use Kelly Gallagher’s Say-Mean-Matter framework from his book, Deeper Reading. Three simple questions give readers a framework for deep thinking around their reading and are perfect for leading book club discussions:
  • What does the text say?
  • What does the text mean?
  • Why does the text matter?
I respond well to these simple prompts and so do the teachers I share them with. We often use them to guide our independent reflections, our book conversations and might even jot our thinking in our notebooks. It reminds me of the Book-Head-Head framework from Kylene Beers and Bob Probst that seems to work so well in the classroom, which helps teachers make connections from their own reading lives to best support their students.

As we come upon the beloved season of summer reading, you might try incorporating the Say-Mean-Matter framework into your own reading life to try it on for size. Then, you might use it into your work with teachers during summer learning or when you return for a book study in the Fall.

Have you used either framework in your book club conversations? Might you use them in your own reading life? Or do you have others that work just as well? Please share your ideas below!

One last thing: If you love reading as much as I do, let’s connect on Goodreads! I update my book recommendations each week and am always looking for a good book to add to my TBR stack!

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