Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Helping Students Choose Just-Right Books

I am so pleased to welcome Amy from Active Readers and Writers today. She has lots of fabulous freebies and resources on her blog, so I hope you stop by to check it out!
Active Readers and Writers

Helping Students Choose Just-Right Books


Expectations run high the first few weeks of school for teachers. You have spent the summer preparing your classroom and curriculum, yet do we ever feel 100% ready for those students to walk through the door? Along with getting to know them as individuals and building a classroom community you must spend those first few weeks getting to know them as readers.

Within these first few weeks of school it is important to help students in deciding what is a Just-Right Book for them? Before we can allow them to choose books of their own spend a couple of mini-lessons doing the following:

Ask them to write and sketch about a time when reading went really well for them and a time when reading did not go as well for them. I've included a printable to use and have them keep in their reading binder. Click Here to view and download.

Have them reflect on books that they read last year or over the summer and think about what qualities of the books made that book: too hard, just right, or too easy for them to read. Have them complete a chart and list book examples if they would like.  Click Here to view and download.

Go over the iPICK Acronym:
P: Purpose: Why do I want to read this?
I: Interest: Does the book interest me?
C: Comprehension: Do I understand it?
K: Know: Do I know most of the words?

Go over the 5-Finger Rule: Pick up a book and read the second page. Hold up a finger when you come across a word you do not understand. If you hold up 5 or more fingers, you should pick another book.

Have them set reading goals as to what types of books they would like to read, possibly trying new genres, increasing the amount of minutes read during the day, etc.

Once you do these mini-lessons with students it should help to guide them in picking books that are close to their just-right reading level during the first couple weeks of school. It will then give you some breathing room to complete your reading assessments to gain further information. Hopefully you will see your students filling their book bins with appropriate reading material from your library!

Amy Gregory lives in Massachusetts and has been teaching 5th grade for the past fourteen years. She is the creator of the blog, Active Readers and Writers, where she shares teaching strategies and connects with other teachers who are interested in best practices around reading and writing.

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