1) How do you plan to give your students reading freedom?
2) What are your favourite reading lessons to start the school year with?
3) What would your genre requirement look like? Why would you pick these genres?
4) As we are half way through The Book Whisperer what goals have you made for your reading program for this coming school year?
I am in the habit of giving my students reading freedom. When we conference, I may try to nudge them another way, but I let them go with what they want if they want. I think it is important.
I start the year with a lot of focus on Choosing Good-Fit books. 3rd graders are all over the place in their reading abilities at the beginning of the year, and that is ok. We talk about that point a lot so that everyone is comfortable reading what they need to without embarrassment. We also talk about the different ways a person can read a book. These lessons are designed to really help build community. Depending on the makeup of my class, sometimes these are easy lessons that have to be done only at the beginning of the year, and sometimes we have to review them at different times throughout the year.
I have really thought about this reading requirement. 3rd graders are typically still such novice readers, and I really want to build confidence. However, I also like to set high expectations. I have decided to go with a 40 book requirement, but I am going to be sure to stress to parents that it is not for a grade, and the students will not be punished if they don't meet it. I will review with them the importance of reading for pleasure, the value of reading different genres, and my desire to challenge their children.
Here is my 40 book requirement by genre:
books recommended by friends--2
free choice books--10
Here are my reasons for some of the choices: I intentionally left poetry out, because we read poetry each week together, and the students do 4-5 poetry recitals a year where they must look through poems, choose one, and read it to the class later in the week. I read them poetry a lot, too, so I feel like they are very exposed.
I added picture books because they are so integral to our classroom, and my students enjoy reading them. They will be an easy way for them to boost their numbers and gain some confidence. Besides, for some of the year, picture books are just-right books for some of my students.
I added a category called books recommended by friends because we spend a lot of time talking about books, and I want them to see how that can carry over. I am going to work harder to remember to share with them who recommended the books that I read. I want it to be a real-world reading thing.
My genre choices are all 2 books. I want them to get more than one taste of a genre, but I didn't want to favor any genre over another. If a student really enjoys a genre, they will have the opportunity to explore it more in their free choices.
My biggest goal for this year is to require more student accountability. I am going to pay more attention to their Daily 5 check ins, conference about their blog entries, and monitor the 40 book requirement with each student. I will have to work to find a good balance between this accountability and the freedom that Ms. Miller describes.