When people ask what is my goal as a (reading) teacher, I say getting students to be life long readers and children that LOVE reading.  However, I haven't found a magical formula to make this work yet.   I am just like you, trying something, anything, out to help kids enjoy reading.  I am no expert.  If you have any ideas to add to this list, please email me.   I will make sure to note your name and give you credit!

 

Click here to read about Making the Home-School Reading Connection

Book Passes

 

Book Browsing Boxes

 

Readers Theater

 

Book Talks

 

Literature Bags

 

Lunch Bunch

 

Peer Suggestions- Coming Soon!

 

Buddy Reading- Coming Soon!

 

 

Book Passes

I got this activity from our wonderful librarian.  Book passes are a great way to get students introduced to different kinds of books.  This is  an activity I do several times during the year, AFTER I have taught the lesson on how to choose a good book.  There are many different ways to actually do this.  Here is how I do Book Passes in my classroom:

 

  1. I ask my wonderful librarian to pull several books.  Usually the books are related to a theme or genre.  If we are about to dive into nonfiction, or mysteries or whatever unit is about to come next, these are the books that are pulled. I need several books, at LEAST one per student.

  2. I store all the books is a large dish pan until I am ready to complete this activity with my class.  A great time  I have found to do this is when I am between two units.  It is a great "bridge" and can take the entire class period.

  3. I divide the stacks of books into groups of 5-6 (the number of students per tale)

  4. I explain to students the purpose of a book pass, to get students interested in books they may not have noticed yet in the library, introduce them to new genre or series and to give them a a list of "what I want to read next" books.  Students are given a sheet that looks like this.

  5. Students then select a book and have about 1 minute to flip through the book and decide if it is a book they would like to read or not. Generally before I start this activity we review how to choose a book (from Fountas and Pinnell's Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6). At the end of the time, students write down the book, author and if they would like to read it next. They are able to do this for several of the books at their table and then I have the book stacks rotate tables.  Students generally have the chance to  look at 15-20 new books.

  6. Students store these in their reading folders.  I encourage students to bring this list with them to the library to help decide what new book to check out.

Here is another similar explanation of book passes.

Here is another copy of a book pass form.

 

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Book Browsing Boxes

 

Whenever I begin a unit in reading, social studies or any subject area, I go to the library and pull several books about the topic.  I keep these books at the front of the room in a large blue dish tub or on the chalkboard ledge. 

 

I pull these books because students are often interested in learning more about a topic.  I have found most students like to have their curiosity stirred and may go seek out more information if the forum is provided.

Here are some examples of books I might pull during a specific unit:

 

Biographies

 I pull different biographies on current celebrity, sports figures, presidents, inventors and so on.  If we are reading about Amelia Earhart in guided reading groups, I make sure to pull books about her as well.  Often students in OTHER reading groups will want to read about Amelia Earhart because their friend is reading about her in guided reading groups.

Making Connections: Author Study of Patricia Polacco

 

I will pull  several of her pictures books; including the ones I will use as a model during the mini lessons AND other books by her.   I will also try to include some information about Polacco that I  pull from the internet so students can learn about the author.

 

Questioning: A Study of fairy tales and fables

 

In this unit we did a study of all the versions of Little Red Riding Hood.  In my browsing box I had all the versions of Little Red Riding Hood as well as several other famous fairy tales, fables and fractured fairy tales.

 

 

 

The reason I do not keep these in my classroom library is because I don't want the students to mix these up with books they can keep in their desk or take home since the browsing box books  are checked out from the library under my name.  The rule is that any books from the tub or the chalk ledge must be returned their at the end of the class period.

 

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Readers Theater

I love readers theater.  I think kids become very invested in the performances and it is engaging for them AND a  wonderful opportunity to practice fluency. We perform a reader's theater play every other week on Fridays.  read more about how I use reader's theater in my classroom here.

 

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Book Talks

Book talks are very short introductions to kids students interesting in reading a book.  In order to be able to do a Book Talk effectively, make sure you have read the book!  It does make a difference. There are several different ways to do a book talk.   We discussed these in my Children's Literature class for my Masters and  I have adapted this method. 

Suggested Book Talk Guide

Title  and Cover Share the title and show the Cover and the back of the book
Author  Share any facts about the author I know, awards this author has won, books they have written that have been turned into movies, etc, anything to help catch the kids attention
Relate the book to other books To get kids interest and "hook" them I relate the book talk book to another popular book.  I say,  If you liked (a book title),  you might like this book.  (Ex. "If you like Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl, you may really like this new series By Cornelia Funke called
Inkheart. They all are fiction and have just enough doses of reality to be believable, but are actually fantasy books dealing with magical things" (This is off the top of my head so it is not perfect!!)
Share the back of the book/ Book Summary Read the back of the book.
Favorite part Then I read aloud share my "favorite part" or a really good hook of
the story.

Printable Suggested Book Talk Guide

I have done book talks in the past.  Generally, they were a part of my teaching.  I might do this after I  read aloud and book I might pull or mention some of the authors books.  I did impromptu book talks ALL the time in the library while helping kids pick out books or right before DEAR time.  I didn't schedule book talks or put them in my lesson plans.  However, after reading on the internet and emailing Angie from SC, I have began to think about using book talks in a more structured way.

This year I am going to have students sign up for a day (I am thinking I will use Fridays) and the STUDENT will share a book talk.  I haven't quiet worked this one out in my brain yet...but the ideas are definitely flowing!!!!

Book Talk Links

More information on Book Talks

This website has examples of book summaries for book talks

Scholastic also has a large assortment of book talk summaries.

Here is an example rubric for a book talk.

Here is another example of a book talk rubric.

Book Talk form for students to complete

 

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Literature Bags

 

This is something new I am trying.  Generally literature bags, or buddy bags, are bags that are filled with literature and activities surrounding a specific topic.  These bags are taken home for a specified period of time and then returned to school.  Some teachers may have one all about farms, or insects and so on.  My goal is to try these out in the intermediate grades and use these bags to encourage reading at home.  You can read all about How I intend on using these in my classroom here.

 

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Lunch Bunch

 

This is a very cool idea created by Laura Candler.  You can read more about Lunch Bunch on her website.  I did not do this with my class this past school year (2005-2006), but I did the previous year (2004-2005).  The students LOVED it and I had (literally) over half my class participate.  We read two or three novels that year together during Lunch Bunch.  Click here to read about how I implemented this in my classroom.

 

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Peer Suggestions

 

Great Link

 

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Buddy Reading

 

Great Link

 

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Do you have any other ideas to add to this list?  Any and all ideas are welcome? Please email me!