March 14, 2017

The RSB - Goal #2: Teaching Reading Engagement


If you are just joining us, please get caught up with the links below.

Getting Started - Crofts' Classroom
Goal #1 - McGuire is Crazy
Goal #2 - Crofts' Classroom
Goal #3 - Chocolate Covered Classroom
Goal #4 - Crofts' Classroom
Goal #5 - Tried and True Reading
Goal #6 - Uncommon to the Core
Goal #7 - Refining Our Craft
Goal #8 - A Lot A Lot
Goal #9 - Andrea Yaun
Goal #10 -Jimi' Rogers
Goal #11 - The Classroom Link
Goal #12 - A Teacher's Ruminations
Goal #13 - Read Reflect Teach
Conclusion - Crofts' Classroom


So as a preface to this post, I need to tell you a few things about my classroom.

1- I teach fourth grade in southeastern Utah (think the Bears Ears National Monument, which I am not going to discuss...promise). The town I live and teach in is just above the Navajo Nation. We are definitely a Title I school.

2- My students this year (and pretty much every year) range from a pre-k/k to an 8th grade reading level. Serioulsy. I have two students who have learned to read for the first time this year. So the span of reading levels is huge.

3- I run my "guided reading" a bit different. I am fortunate to have an awesome reading aid come in and run my traditional guided reading groups. I pull students who need extra help as she does the groups. The students who are not being met with work on Book Clubs, Spelling and Writing.


Okay, so there is the low-down of my environment. The rest will make a bit more sense now.


This section of the book is FABulous!


First off, engagement is SO VERY IMPORTANT when reading. With such a wide span of reading levels in my class it is even more important. I really need my students to be engaged when they are reading their book club books. Now, I let my students select their books for my book clubs. I know, I know, some teachers are cringing, but hear me out please. I lay out about 10 books and then I go over them with the students. I flat out tell the kids what level the book is. My students know what level they are so they can make a decision about the books. The reason I let my students select their own books is because they are more engaged when this happens. Engagement is essential for growth!  .........and it is essential for my reading rotations, because I wouldn't be able to meet with students if I was constantly trying to get kids engaged in their books :)

Okay, so my top strategies from this section.

2.1 - A Perfect Reading Spot. Oh oh oh, how important is this. Love the anchor chart that goes along with it as well. I always go over this at the beginning and middle of the year, but never with an anchor chart. I am going to do this strategy ASAP!

*Question - Does anyone create a reading space for students? Like pillows, comfy chairs, etc.

2.3/2.4 - Keep Your Eyes and Mind in the Book. I am throwing 2.3 in with this one because I feel you can hit them both with one stone. I like how the anchor chart GOes over the three steps of what to do when your attention shifts. The second step is back up and re-read (2.3) and the third step is so very important - rethink your book and/or environment (2.1). Love this anchor chart as well.

2.14/2.18 - Tracking Progress on a Stamina Chart & Reading Log Reflection. I am going to throw these two together as well. Tracking progress is a great idea on anything students do. I have never been a huge reading log fan, but I love the reflection part of this strategy. Brilliant!

*Question - Does anyone do reading logs with their students and have them reflect like this? If so, how is it working?

*Question - What is your favorite strategy from this section?

I really do like the anchor charts that go along with the strategies. I actually happened across this post on Facebook today and I am going to start an anchor chart binder. Do you have an anchor chart binder or sketch book? If so, will you share a picture of it with me?

Well, that sums up this post. Please leave any questions or comments below. I am excited and eager to discuss this section with you.

12 comments:

  1. I teach 4th grade, one class is GT, and the other is ESL. Needless to say there is a HUGE difference between my morning and afternoon classes. Small groups have been a struggle for me because I hadn't found a way to feel like I'm truly reaching my students. I was ONLY using those little readers all. year. long. While they have their place, I never got to see anybody fall in love with reading (who would in that case?). I'm learning this year how to actually teach my small groups using chapter books. On the topic of allowing students choice, I give them a book bag and they have free choice of my independent reading book shelf, but when it comes to my groups, I assign the book for the group. We have discussions as we read, answer questions, discuss strategies, they create, and they find vocabulary words to discuss and learn. It has been fantastic. Before this year, I thought independent reading needed to be silent. I still think it needs to be quiet for those who have a hard time concentrating, but I allow them to work on their assignments, and at the end they have a project, together during this time. I can't tell you how fantastic this has been. Even though I'm working with my group(s) for the day, I see and I HEAR my students having these conversations about their books. Some are on the surface, but guess what??? They're also having DEEPER discussions! WITHOUT ME! It's so amazing!!!
    Having said all of that, I really like 2.13 Mind Over Matter. Some of the chapter books I choose for my groups are not a favorite of some of my students. We have had the discussion about how sometimes we have to read things we don't WANT to read, and that's ok. I really like how this strategy words it, "choose engagement." Let's face it, there are going to be books in middle school, high school, college, LIFE that we don't WANT to read, but there is an important reason that we HAVE to. It's good for students to understand that this is something we face even as adults. I've had several students come tell me they actually ended up liking the book I "made them" read. And others said it wasn't their favorite, but they learned whatever lesson from the story. It's been a great lesson, but next time I'll teach it using this strategy.
    I also really liked 2.22 Buzz About Books. I get into a rut sometimes and ask for book recommendations, why not give students this option? Sometimes it's hard to choose a book! For me it's fear of loss... What if I choose this book, but that one is better and I missed out??? (Happens for me at restaurants all of the time actually). I love giving students a place to recommend great books they've read as well as have a spot they can go if they're stuck.

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    1. I love Buzz About Books as a strategy...and I agree, student need opportunities to recommend awesome book choices! I have a basket in my classroom library just for "Buzz Books!" It's a favorite of all of my students!

      I also have a clipboard in my classroom where my students can create a "Shopping List" for me...jotting down books that they wish to see in my classroom. I check it periodically and see if I can fill orders for the group!

      Thanks for putting a great response out there! I love responses that make you think more!

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    2. I love that strategy too! So many strategies in this section are good, solid strategies.

      The Morris' - when do you work on the students' goals with them? Do you incorporate this into your group work with the novels they are reading? I really like how you are using novels in your small groups. Having students come up with the vocabulary is an awesome idea.

      Nikki - Love the idea about the "shopping list" for the students to let you know what books they want to see. I am going to totally take this idea and implement it. Thank you.

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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  2. I started an anchor chart sketchbook! I'd be happy to share some pics. Not sure how to post here though

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    1. I would LOVE to see your sketchbook! Hmmm...would it be possible to share them with me via Google Drive? Or you could email them? I am planning a post about this very subject and would love to include your pictures! If you are okay with that :) Let me know and thanks for commenting!

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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  3. Stamina is a biggie with my kiddos. I have way too many "happy wanderers" in my 4th grade classroom. I bought round, brightly-colored placemats from IKEA and have named these "Reading Spots." My students grab a spot and stake a claim to a part of the classroom (usually the floor) and place the spot there. Then they sit on the spot or lay across it and read for the full 15 minutes. Having a place to go is super-important!

    In regards to your question about having great reading spaces...I also have a bathtub in my classroom full of pillows. My fourthies love reading in the bathtub because, as we all know...Reading is Great Clean Fun!

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    1. A bathtube?! That is so much fun! "Happy wanderers" is such an accurate term for my students as well. I will have to search out your IKEA placemates. I really like the idea of the students having a specific "spot" to be. Thanks Nikki!

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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    2. Love the reading spot with the mats! Great Idea! I'm going to try this with my kiddos! :)

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    3. Nikki! I love the bathtub choice for reading! I wish I had one in my classroom.

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  4. Thanks so much for your post! I think I saw the same post on Facebook (the anchor chart binder) and I created one myself. As I am reading through the book I make an anchor chart for the strategies I feel I can use the most (I teach K). :) Plus it's fun making the binder look pretty!

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    1. I have started one too! I am so excited to use it. Would you be willing to share pictures of you binder? I would love to see it. I am planning a post about anchor chart binders/sketchbooks and would love to include pictures if you would be willing. Thanks for commenting and let me know!

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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  5. Tina,
    I agree with you that it's important to have kids select their own books. I don't tell my students what level they're on or verbally advertise the level of books; the books are color coded by level and it is written at the back of every book as it was mandated by admin. I spend a lot of time throughout the year talking to kids about just right (good fit), easy and challenging books. This is a much longer process with lots of hits and misses, but I find that it helps kids select books better when they don't have me by their side. Some books might be at a higher level than a particular student "tested out on", but it might still be appropriate because the student knows a lot about that topic or is really, really interested in reading it. There are some supports you could put in place at this point, but that is at the teacher's discretion. I have flexible seating in my classroom so kids have lots of options for where they can work. I have a reading log sheet where students record when they finished or abandoned a book. They also keep lists on Bookopolis, just like an adult reader might do on Goodreads. And, finally, we have been doing whole class reading status checkin at the beginning of every reading workshop. This has created a stronger community of readers in my classroom as kids get to know what others are reading. When a book makes the rounds in a class, everyone is more interested in hearing where the reader is in the book and what they're thinking at that point.

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