While I’m on the search for volunteers to feature, I figured I would change things up a bit and give you a little window into what’s going well in my classroom.
I have worked hard to develop a reading culture in my room and my efforts have been met by great interest and willingness by my students to go along for the book-loving ride! My absolute favorite day of the week is Friday (and not only because of the inherent wonderfulness of Fridays). I love Fridays because it is book shopping day!
My students each have a book bag as part of Daily 5 and on Fridays we take all of the book containers in my library and spread them out on the tables. Then students gather in our meeting area to go through their books- to trade, discuss and return the books they have been reading. This has evolved into a pretty free flowing period of time.
But in the beginning of the year it was very structured and I would lead the whole exchange. I prompted students, asking them to look at the books they picked and think about which books they read and which books they never got to. I would ask them to make a reasonable plan about how many and what types (picture books, leveled readers, nonfictions and chapter books) of books they would need to have to make it through a whole week. I would also check their bags after they shopped in order to make sure they had “good fit” books that gave them a range of reading to do throughout the week.
Now, at this point in the year, I am much more hands off. Obviously, I’m there and I still walk them through the procedure but they have really developed an internal sense of their reading interests and abilities. This has freed me up to walk around the room and suggest books I think certain kids might like or to meet with kids who aren’t sure what they want to read next.
It has grown into a time when you can wander into my room and hear the buzz of book loving 8 and 9 year olds (my favorite!). I hear the best conversations too! Kids telling each other why they should check out this book or that. Kids actually chomping at the bit to trade books that they have seen each other reading all week. Plus some really sweet moments where kids are negotiating who should get the last copy of a classroom favorite. They navigate these interaction with great poise, most of the time, saying things like, “I’ve really been waiting to read that book, can I take it this week?” or “you can take it but will you give it to me as soon as you are done!?!”
It really is heart melting. This is not to say its a perfect system. In the beginning I was very unsure about committing a full half hour of our day to this, there are squabbles here and there, and it does feel chaotic at times (which generally speaking I try to avoid at all costs). However I have seen great reading come out of this and that alone makes it worth it to me!
Next week if I’m still featureless I will tell you about our “promise books” and the writing my students are doing from their independent reading.
Have a great week and come back soon!