It's a new year and I am always excited to introduce new books to my students. I have spent a lot of time at the local library, online visiting great websites, and getting ideas from Twitter to gather ideas of great books to recommend to kids to get them reading again.
Last year, a fourth grade teacher in my building kept track of all of the books her students read throughout the year. At the end of the year, she totaled them up and the number was staggering. Her class of 20 students read more than 300 books! This got me thinking about how to motivate kids to read each year. A sure fire way to get them going is to set goals. Share with them how many books were read last year. Ask them what they think they can do.
My personal goal this year is to keep track of what I read and read both professionally and for pleasure. My professional goal will be to help kids set personal goals for reading and keep track. I think they will be quite surprised by what they accomplish! What will your goal be?
I am usually a one-dimensional reader. I pretty much read only realistic fiction, something I can relate to. Since becoming a reading specialist, I have had to really expand my horizons. This summer has been no exception, if not a challenge to myself. I haven't really bought into the whole graphic novel idea, but now I am hooked. Babymouse sucked me, and my daughter, in. Then, I found out The Babysitter's Club, The Hardy Boys and others have been done in a graphic novel format. Thanks to the Nerdy Book Club
and Mr. Shu Reads
, I have been introduced to an infinite amount of new titles and books to check out.
I am going to be posting what I have read with links to book reviews or websites of the authors to encourage you to read something outside the box of what you normally read!
Can you believe it's June 22nd already? I can't! Yet, it's been exhilarating to have the whole summer as mine. Last summer I had to do student-teaching for my reading specialist certification. This summer it's one online class about 21st century assessment and a literacy institute. But the best part? I can read basically whatever I want all summer and be a fun mom to my kids. That being said, there is still so much to accomplish this summer!Celia, my soon-to-be second grader, has eagerly embraced summer reading. She's set a goal to read 12 books by our July beach vacation, with another 12 books before school starts. She loves reading more books that me and keeping track of her finished books on the computer.
Little does she know that while I am reading lots of new and good children's books and leaving them around the house, I am encouraging her to pick them up and check them out. Logan, my 4 and 1/2 year old, wants to be like his sister. He picked up Fangbone: 3rd Grade Barbarian today. He wanted to look at the pictures while Celia was checking out Babymouse Our Hero. Yep, it's a little bit of trickery, but it works! So right now I am participating in the @Summerthrowdown challenge
. This is where teachers and librarians are engaged in a fun competition to see who can read the most this summer. The concept is simple and quite fun! Read books and share what and how much you have read. It's so easy to get ideas of great books from everyone who is participating. Since my job is all about getting kids to read, this is a great way to find out about what's new and wonderful to read! What's your summer throw down challenge?
It's almost here, but there is still time to get kids thinking about reading over the summer. Of course I am like the rest of you.....I can hardly wait until the last bell rings and I can wave goodbye to our darlings as they leave on the bus for the summer. That doesn't mean I don't relish the last few opportunities I have to get kids thinking about what they will read and why they should
read over the summer. Here is some information to chew on:
The American Library Association has found through considerable research that summer reading loss is cumulative.
- Children don't "catch up" in the fall because the other children are moving ahead with their skills.
- By the end of 6th grade children who lose reading skills over the summer are two years behind their classmates.
- Some researchers estimate 50-67% of the achievement gap, for children living in poverty and for children of color, is the result of summer reading loss.
EEk! Scary, but nothing we didn't know. Help kids set goals to read over the summer. Get them thinking about how many books they can and will read instead of thinking of how much time they have to read each day. Sometimes this thinking is easier and more motivating. Add links to your website with book trailers and book reviews. Post information about your favorite books you read or have read. Invite students to comment to your blog, send you an email, or write a letter about what they have read and be sure to follow up with a response. It's a day and a half away, but make the summer send-off
The weather has made thinking about summer reading seem like it was right around the corner. That started about two months ago. Now, as we near the single-digit countdown to summer, my special summer reading list has grown immensely! I have eagerly placed several titles on my list, but had to start sooner rather than later. I had the great pleasure of reading The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate. This has been a book much tweeted about by The Nerdy Book Club
(#nerdybookclub). I had read so many fabulous reviews that I had to check it out. I was not disappointed! This book was wonderful in so many ways that I encourage you to check it out!
Along with creating lists of great books to read, I'm always eagerly anticipating the library's Summer Reading sign-up. May 1st came and I was looking online at library websites waiting for the links and dates to sign up. I had to wait a few days for the information, but now we are a week away! St. Louis County libraries will begin summer reading registrations on May 19th. I know a lot of people turn their noses up at the library, but it is by far one of my favorite places to go. I hope that when my children grow up they have fond memories of visiting the library together and that we even have libraries for them to take their children. I'm posting links to library summer reading sign up events and information.
Enjoy events at your local library all summer long! Not sure what to read? Check out these great sites that have book trailers and book reviews for kids for all sorts of genres!
Share your favorite reading spot or book! Happy summer reading!
Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day! To celebrate, we are making mini-books for which students can put in poems, illustrate and then put their pocket to share with others. I love this because it's short, simple and a wonderful way to get kids reading poetry. While April is National Poetry Month, I like to see kids engaged in poetry throughout the year. Poetry was special to me when I was younger. I wrote lots of different types of poems, collected them, and held them dear to my heart. They were a perfect outlet for me to experiment with different forms of writing and a way to express myself. It's also a great way to get kids hooked into reading as well. Poems can be silly, serious, emotional, long, and short. It encourages students to be creative. So, we will celebrate today and hope that it sparks a student to read, write and be creative!Resources for poems:
As a teacher and reading specialist, helping students learn vocabulary is always one of the biggest challenges. I always feel like I have to change the ways I present vocabulary to students in order to keep it fun and engaging.
Creating Wordles is a great way to get kids thinking about vocabulary. I wanted to take it a step further and really get the kids thinking about the importance of the words they chose for their Wordles. I was working with a 5th grade group that read Roland Smith’s Jack’s Run. During reading we discussed lots of unknown, confusing and/or important words. We kept track of those words throughout the reading. After they finished the text, we revisited the words. Each student had to choose 10 words that he thought were most important to the text. After they chose the words, each student shared why he picked each word. Listening to their explanation gave me so much insight into what they understood of the story, the characters and the plot. The conversations were exciting and it engaged them in a debate of words.
Once discussions were over, each student had to rank his chosen words from most important to least important in relation to the text. This helped them determine which words stood out in the Wordle. While the activity took a couple of class periods, the dialogue and insight paid off. .
2012 has already started with a bang! It's hard to believe that it's here already. I still feel like it's the beginning of the year, but it's not and there is a lot to do before it ends!
Now that the new year is here, it's time to look at what we've accomplished, celebrate our successes, and plan for new goals. My goal is to make more time for reading for myself and to enjoy running. I devour books because I love that reading takes me on a new journey, bring to life new characters, or informs about topics that are of interest to me. Running is something I do because I have to stay in shape. To be honest, it's not something I really enjoy. But I think with a new pair of shoes and a new outlook, I can start to enjoy running for what it is---free time for myself. I think by setting these simple goals I am doing something that I can be successful at as well as something that will expand my knowledge and keep me healthy!
This year we have about 30 kids who are participating in the Go! St. Louis Read, Right, Run Marathon. This is a six month event where students read 26 books, do 26 good deeds and run 26 miles. We had so much doing this last year that I look forward to seeing this group accomplish their goals too! Students who are in this program should be a third of the way to their 26 books, deeds and miles. This winter weather has been mild and therefore, I will be coordinating some runs in February and March. Coach Davis is going to be offering running club again this spring, which is another opportunity for students to get their weekly mile done.
What are some of the books you have read so far and enjoyed? Share your books, good deeds and successful runs in the comments section. I look forward to being inspired by you all as I am every day!
It's that time of year where, as a literacy specialist or teacher, we are assessing our children. This can be overwhelming for two reasons: a) it's a lot of work during a busy, hectic time, b) you are able to see if a child has made progress or not. If not, the feeling of defeat as a teacher smacks you. As a reading specialist, this is how I have been feeling this week. Luckily, I received my weekly newsletter from Choice Literacy. Choice Literacy is a great professional development site that I subscribe to. They send out weekly newsletters on different literacy topics. One of articles that was spotlighted today could not have come at a better time! I needed these words of wisdom to calm me and remind me that progress can come in many different forms. Many of the kiddos we see in reading are struggling in so many areas, that it's hard to remember that they are making progress....in something
. This article titled, "Praising the Baby Steps" gave me things to think about and praise my students on. I hope you find it helpful too:) http://catchingreaders.com/2011/10/27/praising-the-baby-steps/ Another great
article offers an activity to get kids thinking about books they have read, together or independently, this year. I often forget to have kids reflect on what they have read so far this year and talk to their peers. Talking about reading is such a critcial component to getting kids to reaWhile it's not the end of the year, it's a project that you could revisit later on. It's also meaningful and fun, especially if you want to do something right before break! http://www.choiceliteracy.com/public/929.cfm
Check out Choice Literacy at http://www.choiceliteracy.com/
During my summer seminar class, a colleague of mine did a presentation on using video clips in her class to help introduce reading strategies. I was a bit intrigued because I have seen many used to help students make inferences. However, what I hadn't anticipated seeing was the the chart of video resources she had put together that correlated with the different skills. Videos can be quite powerful for children in the classroom. I find myself often making connections to movies while teaching reading strategies. For example, when I am encouraging students to reread for clarity and fluency, I ask them if they have movies they have seen more than once. I haven't had a child say 'no' yet. We talk about how watching a movie for the second or third time can help them understand the story better, "get" a joke or punchline, or hear things they missed the first time.
We can also use video to help establish background knowledge for students who don't experiences to connect with content area subjects or a particular theme of a text. What this presentation reminded me of is the power of video in the classroom, used in moderation and appropriately, of course!Here is list of video clips and the skills for which they correlate. If you use a video for a particular skill, please add it to the comments below. Enjoy!Videos & Reading Strategies