I always have so many ideas for Reading – books I want to read, books I’ve taught, lessons I’ve come up with, or lessons I want to try. So, here we go….
I was thinking about next fall – I know, we just finished school so why think about the fall already – and I was trying to come up with a way to get my kids to really understand genre, yet still read more.
I’ve read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller many times (and I’m sure I’ll read it again this summer) and this past year I’ve tried to incorporate some of her ideas. I pushed my students to read more and more often. This actually worked. They were a bit skeptical about reading 40 books, but eventually that number went away in their heads and they were just reading. I think this past year I spent more money on books and put in more book orders than I have in the past 3 years combined!
I also made sure that I was reading around them and talking about what I was reading. They started recommending books to me and started trusting my recommendations. And we started talking about books. We still worked on our reading strategies and all, according to our standards, but the kids were picking out deeper thoughts and reflections. It was AMAZING!
So, I started thinking about how I can make next year even better and start earlier. I used to have students focus on one genre a month and do a book talk. I honestly hated those presentations – they were BORING! The kids would recite something off the back of the book, they didn’t finish their book, they did some lame project, or they told every little piece of the story – including the ending (one of my pet peeves!). These things made my classroom a dull place to be and we wasted 2 days listening to those things. NOT something I want to do again!
Okay, so here’s my thought – take the first 2 weeks or so (which are focused on discipline anyway) and really study all the different genres. Create anchor charts, book lists, opinions, facts. Then, for the rest of the quarter the students pick one of 2 genres to do some type of mini-presentation with. Example, first quarter we’d focus on Realistic Fiction, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. They would read a book, create some kind of short (no more than 1-2 minute) presentation/demo/something (needing more ideas here!) and each Friday we have quick book recommendations. This way we aren’t waiting until the end of the quarter to present all the recommendations (25 per class – yuck!) and books get recommended faster.
Well – those are my thoughts at least. What do you think?