Today I'm linking up with Catherine, The Brown Bag Teacher, for her Reading in the Wild book study.
This week's focus is chapter 2.
Chapter 2 emphasizes that we need to improve student ability to self-select books with positive reading experiences and frequent opportunities to preview, share, and discuss books.
On a side note, the adorable tiger clip above is from the creative Krista Wallden.
We can improve student ability to self-select books through . . .
1 - Read Alouds
Last summer, our principal sent out post-cards for each teacher to fill out with a message about what they read over the summer. The post-cards were hung in the hallway for the first day of school. Students were eager to see which read alouds their teacher selected.
I like to start each school year by having students share their favorite read alouds. This helps me begin to gauge student reading interests and abilities right on day one.
Throughout the school year we invite mystery readers to pop-in to our classroom. We've had other teachers, parents, and community members volunteer to read aloud to students.
A few years ago I kept a timeline of books that we read. I posted a picture of the cover page of each book read so that we could easily refer back to them throughout the school year. Although time consuming, it served as an amazing resource throughout the school year.
2 - Creating Book Buzz
I order many books through Scholastic's Book Order with bonus points. Many students do not order their own personal books. However, they are still eager for our book order to arrive knowing that there will be new books for our class included. Book raffles were mentioned in chapter 2. I think this is a great idea. I often have more than one student who would like to read one of our new books, this would be a fun way to organize it.
On our last day of school we had a book exchange. Students brought in used, age-appropriate books, that they no longer wanted and we lined them up throughout the classroom. I provided students with bags and a few new Scholastic books to start with and then they lined up and browsed all the titles. When they found books they liked they filled their bags. This served as a great way to build up their summer reading collection and to spark their interest to read.
3 - Reflecting on Reading Choices
It is important throughout the school year to pause and find time to conference with students about their book selections. No time? Try out a survey or self-reflection worksheet. I like to meet with students 1:1 during independent reading. I have 2 students that I plan to meet with individually each day before I start pulling small groups for guided reading.
4 - Creating Preview Stacks
Often students struggle to find a good book on their own. This is when it is a good time to create preview stacks. These are stacks of a variety of books that you think the student might enjoy based on information you have gathered about him or her through surveys, reflection sheets, conferences, or your own observations. Students borrow this stack and look through each book in hopes to find a keeper.
5 - Keeping Track of Your Reading Life
This is definitely one area I hope to improve. I always start the year off strong with book graphs and logs. Then, as the school year speeds up and free time seems to disappear, we start to ease up a little on the paperwork that follows our independent reading. I hope to find a way to better track reading without adding on any extra tedious paperwork.
6 - Engaging Classroom Libraries
Here is an old photograph of my classroom library.
Our classroom library holds over 2,000 books. The books are organized by genre and guided reading level. I store books in plastic shoe boxes that I got for $1 at Walmart. They have held up very well over the years and I haven't had to replace any yet.
I have students browse the classroom library in the morning when they arrive. Students store the books they are currently reading in book bins. They can store 2-3 books in their book bin at a time.
How do you promote self-selection of reading material in your classroom?
Check out all the other posts about chapter 2 and link up with your ideas.