The second week of school has come to a close for me, and I have to admit, I am pooped. The kids have been awesome. It’s just always an adjustment getting all your routines into place so everything takes A LOT longer than I planned. Note to self: Next year, try to plan less in the first two weeks so I don’t feel behind.
Well, I’ve been working all summer trying to figure out what my reading incentive plan is going to be this year. I’ve tried AR (not a fan). I’ve done the reading log each night (not a fan). I’ve had parents sign that their child has read X amount of minutes each day (well…you get the idea). These things have not achieved or fostered what my goal is —kids to LOVE reading! I think maybe this is not the end goal for all teachers, especially the ones that don’t really read themselves. They need the accountability piece; the signed piece of paper or test that “proves” that a student is reading.
I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching, asking colleagues, researching, and it all comes back to what I’ve always believed–we need to have a plan to promote literacy in our classroom that truly creates a LOVE for BOOKS! So how do we do this? Well, what’s worked better than anything else in my 8 years is my class book club. Every Wednesday Mrs. Cortez Book Club meets before school. The kids bring a mug from home and I bring the hot chocolate and doughnuts. We have read before the meeting to an agreed upon page and then come and talk about the book. It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done. There’s no test, no book report, no nothing. It’s just a group of people getting together and sharing opinions about the story. (I’ll post something about book club specifically later—it starts this week.)
I decided this year that I’m taking bits and pieces from reading “The Book Whisperer”, Beth Newingham (google her), Fountas and Pinnell’s reading notebook, and a little bit of my own two cents. I am implementing the 40 Book Challenge and I’m so excited! I’ll post about that later this week as well along with everything I created for it. In order conquer this challenge, the students HAVE to be able to identify different genres of literature so this was the lesson. Using “The Book Whisperer” as my guide and Beth Newinghams free downloads (genre title pages), I had the students take notes in their reader’s notebooks. Then I gave each team scholastic book catalogs and they had to choose 15 book covers to sort. I gave each teach one blank sheet of paper and let them “sort” it out. Were all the sorts correct? No, but it made for some good conversation for our intro. lesson. The kids really got it into it.
This year is off to a good start!