Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Driving on Automatic (SOLS 13)

You probably don't know this, but I LOVE Starbucks.  I spend so much money there on a weekly basis, that I'm afraid to tally it up.  So I don't.  I just go when the urge hits me and that's at least twice a week.  It's so bad that I spilt my visits between two different locations.  You know you've got it bad when the people who work there recognize you.  One time I decided to go "cold turkey" as a part of a diet I was trying out, so I sent my daughter inside to get herself a White Chocolate Mocha, while I waited in the car.  Guess what happened?  One of the barista's asked, "Where's your mom?"  Being the good daughter that she is, and not wanting to divulge my secret, she responded, "She decided to go off coffee this week."  When he persisted in the reason why, she just said she didn't know.  After returning to the car and relaying the conversation that took place inside, I said, "Next time, just say-SHE'S ON A DIET! OKAY?"  See what I mean about needing to split my visits between two locations?

Anyway, one day I drove to Starbucks with my daughter, and I'm placing our order, but the barista loses her train of thought and forgets to give me change.  She's so embarassed, that I say, "No problem, I do things like that all the time.  It's like when you drive somewhere, but you don't remember doing it or how you got there."  She and the other people nearby laugh and agree that this was something that happens to them too.  I call it Driving on Automatic.

This "Driving on Automatic" phrase got me thinking about my students and their reading.  Many of my first graders are becoming really good readers.  This year, they have been learning and applying various reading strategies.  Our goal is to be able to articulate the strategies that we have been learning.  With this in mind, more and more students are not just learning to read, but they are reading to learn.  I love when my students make that transition, the one from learning to read, to reading to learn.  When this happens, I know they are "Driving on Automatic" or reading on automatic.  They know various strategies and when to use them.  For instance, they might visualize the story by making a mental picture.  Often times, they don't even realize that they did, because they are "Driving on Automatic".   We'll continue to learn and practice different reading strategies, apply them in our independent reading time, articulate them during reading conferences, and we'll continue to, "Drive Read on Automatic" forever more.


  1. I thought this was a powerful statement: "I love when my students make that transition, the one from learning to read, to reading to learn."
    That's it, right there -- what we look for in our students.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I must be "driving in automatic" because I feel the need to run out to get a Starbucks right now! Love the transition from story to practice. As a first grade teacher like you, I'm enjoying seeing students begin to "read in automatic". Amazing!