I write ….to understand!

As I mixed the panko witht he parsley, salt and pepper and added the olive oil, I thought about what my friend said when I met her Thursday after school to catch up. “When I read or listen to a lecture, I have to take notes. It helps me to understand and remember it.” As she shared, I smiled and recalled the many reading and writing notebooks I have on my shelf.

As I smeared mustard onto each salmon fillet, sprinkled on salt and pepper, and topped with the panko mixture, I noticed the book I finished reading over the weekend. What did I want to remember after meeting Ravami and Virginia and the other six “midnight children”?

After cooking the fillets on the stove for 4 minutes in a hot iron skillet, I slid it into the preheated oven and set the timers for 7 minutes. Then I grabbed the Advanced Readers copy I borrowed from my colleague and my notebook and a pencil. As I skimmed pages of the book, I added stick figures for the characters that stuck with me. I added quotes that stuck with me. I added what I especially liked about this book and listed the other books I had already read and loved my this author, Daan Gemeinhart. All in pencil. Fofr now. Once at school on Tuesday, I can use my flairs to pretty it up!

Once the oven timer sounded, I fitted my hands with oven mitts and carefully pulled the heavy skillet from the oven and sat it on the stove. As I covered the skillet with aluminum foil, I thought again about my friend’s comment and about my notebook. She is so right. Because I made this page, I will remember this well-written book. Because I added sketches and quotes, the story of friendship and belonging will stay with me longer. Because I read and then wrote about it, I understand this book better.

As I added a salmon fillet and a scoop of salad to my plate, I smiled. What a great job I have. I get to read great books and jot down my thinking, all to understand better. I am grateful I got into the habit of writing about reading from attending workshops at TCRWP.

Salmon Recipe


5 thoughts on “I write ….to understand!

  1. margaretsmn says:

    I love salmon and Dan Gemeinhart. I have Midnight Children but haven’t started reading it yet. What will you do next with your notes? Will you book talk the book for your students or use it as a read aloud? I do not have this habit when I read, but it’s one I should adopt because I’m finding it harder and harder to remember these days.


  2. Fran McCrackin says:

    I agree with Margaret. You teach this strategy to students to help them comprehend, but we all can benefit from this creative next step after we read. I feel sad sometimes thinking of all that I have read and forgotten. I like how you didn’t worry about drawing (stick figures) but you reviewed important characters and important quotes. And when you “pretty it up “ with your colored flair pens, you will be reinforcing the memories. Perhaps you will have me starting a reading journal…


  3. Trish says:

    What a crafty way to combine two recipes—one for a scrumptious dinner and another for a book response. I love that you included the visual (and that it includes sketching). I just did the same for my adult book club and Cloud Cuckoo Land. You are putting the BEST example in front of your students—lucky them!


  4. Erika says:

    You always inspire me! I loved my arc of the book too and I have to do something to help me hold on to important books I read so I can share them with others and talk about the books afterward…Yes, I should do more writing about my reading to grow my own ideas too, just like I tell my fifth graders! You are right- we are lucky to get to do this work!


  5. mbhmaine says:

    I really enjoyed how you structured your post. So often I find myself thinking about teaching while actively in the midst of something else. It’s fun to watch the two processes unfold together as you describe them. I also really appreciated seeing your notebook page. What a great mentor for your students!


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