Five Ways to Improve Your Reading Climate for Friday



This week, I was so excited to put into practice a few new ideas from the VSRA conference I attended, and let me tell you, the response was excellent!  Today, I'm linking this post in two places, and I hope my hosts don't mind.  It took me a while to pull my thoughts together for Five for Friday (so I am very late...probably the last to link up), and this post is all about increasing motivation.  My blogging friend, Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching hosts Spark Student Motivation Saturday, and I think this post fits.

All year, I've been working to spark an interest in reading with my students and help them increase their reading time.  As Donalyn Miller says, “A classroom atmosphere that promotes reading does not come from the furniture and its placement as much as it comes from the teacher's expectation that students will read.”  (The Book Whisperer) We need to make reading time a priority and find time to squeeze in reading minutes during our school day.  I have always been passionate about developing a love of reading and books.  I did not have that growing up.  I seldom went to the library, and I do not even recall a real reading routine. It may not have been emphasized back then, but we know now just how important it is to develop a habit.  I chose to be a reading specialist to help kids find that for themselves and to help parents with this at home.   Do you have a culture of reading in your classroom?  Think how important that is to our daily lives.  No matter what level your students are at, it is our responsibility to find what interests them and help them develop a love for reading. 

Cartoon Number One
First thing Monday, I had a handful of fresh new books to place in front of my "dormant" readers.  Let me tell you...the kids were fighting over who could take the books first.  They made their choices, and then I gave them time to get going with them.  One of the boys ended up abandoning one book after reading the first chapter.  He realized it was too hard (I think), but he commented that it was just too long. The key is to know your students interests, have options for them within their reading range, and allow choice.  

Cartoon Number TwoRight off the bat, I implemented conferencing time as well.  This conference form from Reggie Routman worked well to guide our discussion.  I met with each of the kids to review current reading and reading plans. During reading time, I pulled students one at a time to discuss where they were in their books and to make plans with them as to when they would complete the books. One of my girls was reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and she planned to finish by Friday with plans to read one of the Dork Diaries next.  We talked about other series that were similar...Big Nate, and James Patterson's new series, Middle School.  I used this conference form to record our discussion.  

Cartoon Number ThreeOn Tuesday, we added a few forms to our reading notebooks.  We've been using interactive notebooks all year, so I chose to add our reading logs to the back of the books.  {This form} from Donalyn Miller works well because the kids were excited to rate the books.  It gives them the goal of completing the book (since you can't rate what you haven't read) and the goal of being able to recommend the books to others.  We also added {a genre chart} to the back as well, and I discovered there was some confusion about genres. This means additional mini lessons to provide clarification.  My students are so excited about doing star ratings.  It highlights their hard work.  The quote of the week came Friday from a little boy that just hasn't shown much enthusiasm, "Do you have any more like these??"  I almost cried right then and there, and the answer was, "Yes I do.  How many do you want?"  The hook....George Brown.


Cartoon Number Four
As a group, we talked about how to squeeze in reading minutes and made an anchor chart like this one from Fearless in 5th. We talked about reading emergencies and the importance of carrying a book with you. The kids really do crave time to just read, so keeping strategy mini lessons short is really important.  Most of our time needs to be spent in the book or with the kids talking.  We need to work hard to monitor the amount of talking we do and step back to listen to their thinking.  If we focus our talk on think aloud with gradual release, we will more likely see transfer. 


Cartoon Number Five
In the end, this is what I want.  I want my kids so into what they're reading that they do not even know I am photographing them.  I want them to be WILD about reading because that WILL transfer into a lifelong habit.  After all, we want kids to love reading and spread the love.  We want them to go out into the world literate people who are able to talk about what they've read.  We want them to be wide-read, knowledgeable about all types of books, and purposeful in their reading choices. We read fiction and nonfiction differently, so it's important that children have opportunities to discover all genres.  Donalyn Miller gives her students the 40 book challenge. Mine now have the 10+ book challenge for the last quarter, and next year, we'll all be accepting the 40 book challenge from day one.  How about your students?  Imagine what a great school you'd have if every teacher set that standard for his/her students. It would put a lot of fun and energy back into our children's days.
Enjoy your weekend, and come Monday....Spark some reading motivation! For more motivational ideas, jump over to Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation ideas.  (I love this linky!!)  

One last thing before I sign off....If you'd like to run through the poetry blog hop, {click here}  My giveaway continues...choice of Brod Bagert collection or Amazon gift certificate, AND all items in my TPT store are 15% off through March 31st.  Yeehaw!!!


Until next time, happy reading!



16 comments

  1. Thanks so much for such a great blog! So much useful info. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness! What a nice comment to leave. I appreciate that more than you know Debora!

      Delete
  2. I love to use poetry to get kids interested in reading poetry books on their own. Brod Baggert came to our school years ago. I will never forget him. Hope to win!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is hilarious, isn't he? It's been about 7-8 years ago for me. Giant Children was brand new, and he was fantastic. I'm sure his rate is much higher today. :-)

      Delete
  3. Brod Baggert is a new name for me which is saying something since I'm sort of book nerd. Love finding a new name! Thank you :) I usually work in a weekly poem into our calendar time but I also involve poetry in our writing stations. This year I've found some fun looking TPT resources that I'm excited about trying and thought we'd either kick our unit off, or end it with, a poetry picnic. :) A resource book idea: The Poetry Friday Anthology (our district purchased these for us).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I'm glad I gave you a new name, Laura. I got acquainted with his poetry when he visited our school, but I've since seen Giant Children and Shout in book stores. His poems are great to read out loud to your kids...very entertaining. Perhaps your library will have a copy.
      Carla

      Delete
    2. Laura: Thanks for the shout-out for The Poetry Friday Anthology! A lot of districts have been adopting our series (for K-5, Middle School, and K-5 Science). Brod has a terrific poem about dancing in our first K-5 book--with his trademark infectious enthusiasm!

      Delete
  4. I couldn't agree with you more about how important it is to carve out reading time every day. I have at least 30 minutes a day -- non-negotiable -- and it has made all the difference! Thanks for this great blog post!

    Jennifer
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your blog is amazing! I love the conferencing sheet! The real reading and fake reading poster is GREAT! I need to make one for my room!

    Your newest follower!
    Kimberly Ann
    Live, Laugh, I love Kindergarten

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was amazed at how honest my kids were! This was from Pinterest, but mine was very very similar. The conference form could certainly be modified for K if some questions don't apply. I think this new addition to my routine is going to be a huge turning point for some. I'll have my 4th graders again next year, so I know this will help them.

      Delete
  6. Cool post with lots of great ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you thought so, and I hope you can take something from it for your classroom. I've enjoyed the excitement this week, and as we go through this last quarter, I'm hoping that it carries the kids through the summer.

      Delete
  7. I LOVE the anchor chart "real reading vs fake reading" !!! LOVE IT!! something the kids can really relate to as well....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The discussion was great, and as the kids had time to read later in the week, I had one I asked...real reading or fake reading...he smiled and said, real reading and put his nose in his book. :-)

      Delete
  8. I love showing kidos new books. I did it every month last year when I had my own classroom. I also talk to kids about fake reading all the time... even with the K kids I work with this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have to look and see the name of your blog. I love connecting with other reading specialists (assuming literacy teacher means that's your job). It takes mine to get started sometimes, but once they are into their books, they do not want to be interrupted. I love it!

      Delete

Thanks for visiting my blog today. I love to hear from my readers, so if something from my post speaks to you, please let me know. Feel free to share what has worked well for you or anything else on your mind.

Back to Top