In Part 2 of Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters, Beers and Probst discuss how teachers can develop responsive, responsible, and compassionate readers. The authors have created the BHH Framework to help cultivate the kind of readers we want. Below, I will briefly introduce the BHH Framework along with the accompanying questions:
- (B)ook: What’s this about? / What did I notice?
- (H)ead: What surprised me? / What confused me?
- (H)eart: What life lessons did I learn?
As this post is a “Reading Response,” I will be responding to selected questions that appear at the end of each chapter.
I’d also like to encourage you to read the book along with me and respond to the selected questions in the comment section.
Chapter 5: Reading and Change
We believe that if we can encourage kids to read from the head and heart, they will be more likely to read more responsibly what’s in the book. Do you agree?
This is an interesting question. I address this below under my chapter 8 response, questioning whether the focus on (H)ead and (H)eart actually result in students focusing more on (B)ook. It seems plausible, but only if the three are being used interrelatedly. Exclusively focusing on the (H)ead or (H)eart and ignoring the (B)ook would obviously be irresponsible. I think this may be why the pendulum has swung so far toward (B)ook in today’s classrooms and standards. There was a time where reading teachers were all about Rosenblatt’s transactional theory of reading, but I think it perhaps went too far away from the book.
Like many areas of education, reading instruction historically has swung from one extreme to the other. This framework may help bring us back to the center.
Chapter 6: Book, Head, Heart (BHH) Framework
What are your thoughts about the BHH framework? How could you use it as a planning tool for yourself and a reading frame for students?
I think it is important for any teacher using this to first read the text themselves with the framework in mind. One of the things I noticed about using signposts in my EFL classroom is that the students seem to need a lot of guidance in identifying them. I have not been able to successfully ask, “Do you see any signposts?” I have needed to give them hints such as, “Do you see a contrast and contradiction on this page?”
I imagine that using the BHH might be similar in that I may need to guide my students toward thinking in this way. I likely would need to first identify spots on my own that lend themselves toward the framework and direct my students toward them during reading.
In addition, it would probably be necessary to have some type of graphic organizer and sentence stems to guide my students toward using the framework in class, particularly when writing and speaking about it.
Chapter 7: Using the Framework in Your Own Reading
Did reading with the BHH framework in mind change your thinking? Sharpen it in any way?
On the day I read this chapter, a friend of mine sent me an article about tensions in South Africa, a topic I know little about as an American. As I read the article, I kept the BHH framework in mind.
Did the framework change my thinking? Perhaps not.
Did it sharpen my reading? Undoubtedly, yes!
I found myself reading more critically and also looking more at myself. I noticed an author bias that I may not have noticed if I were passively reading. I also stopped to ask myself, “What would I have done in this situation?”
Not only was the reading a different experience, but I also felt my conversation about it later with my friend was more fruitful as well.
This experience was testament that the BHH Framework is worthwhile. They key is to remember to use it every time.
Chapter 8: Using the Framework in the Classroom
What did you see in these classrooms you found interesting or worth exploring?
The most interesting thing I found in these classroom vignettes is that different students wanted to start with different parts of the framework, but nobody started with (B)ook. Students seemed to be more interested in beginning the conversation either with (H)ead or (H)eart.
This is interesting because most classrooms (mine included) spend most of their time only talking about the (B)ook, yet this is not the preference of the students. That being said, (B)ook was not ignored by the students as it supported their conversation about (H)ead or (H)eart.
I cannot help but wonder: classrooms that have focused exclusively on (B)ook, would students actually understand more of (B)ook if the focus switched to (H)ead and (H)eart?
Chapter 9: Big Questions, Signposts, and the BHH Framework
What strategies do you most often use- other than teacher questions- to help your students think about what’s in the book?
The strategy I use most often with students is story maps, or a graphic organizer. As we go through the story, I ask students to identify setting, characters, plot, etc. and we write what they find in their notebooks. We usually read a page or two and pause to add to our story map. I have found this helps the student with the “book” aspect of the framework.
I have also recently begun using signposts while we read. I have taught my students a few of them at this point. Before we begin reading a page, I tell them to stay alert for a type of signpost that I have identified. After reading, I let them break into partners or small groups to talk about where the signpost is. We then discuss what we found as a group and record it in our notebooks. Each signpost also has a question that goes with it. After we have recorded the signpost, I write a sentence stem on the board that matches the question and give the students a minute or two to respond to the question individually. After the students have written, I call on a few students to share their thoughts.
Finally, I love using the question “What surprised you?” Whether reading or watching a short video, this question is great for getting students to talk about what they have read or watched. In class, I usually give them a short period of time to first write their “surprise” down and then we discuss.