Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sharing the Love of Books...A Chore?

Get your pencils ready.
Order your recess and lunch.
Take your books out.
Settle down.

That's the to-do list in many classrooms each morning, including mine on many mornings. While we may not present it as "orders", the routine-ness of it is an established goal and this tone set. And it is this approach to silent independent  reading that I wish to reconsider. But my reflections are going deeper than that.

When you finish your book, you may choose one of the responses to share your thoughts and ideas. I want you to record the title, the number of pages, the type of response you select and the new total of pages read in your log. 

This is the essence of the expectations I established this year. And it worked...for the most part and with most but not all students!

The choices in responses varied greatly and included such things as:

  • Illustrate a new book cover.
  • Write a postcard to, or from, a character.
  • Create a story map, or a comic strip.
  • Write a letter to me about what and why you enjoyed about the book.
  • Create a glossary of terms related to the non-fiction text you think may be useful.
  • Blog!
  • Write a Reader's Theatre script about an important scene. (Present it or direct it!)
  • Do an Audioboo and share it.
  • Create a movie poster for your book.
  • Sign up for a BookTalk. (with me or a classmate)
  • Use Popplet to create a character sketch (or some other selected topic)
  • Create a presentation about the author and what about their book that stood out for you.
As our outcomes include broad statements such as "Students will be expected to respond personally to a range of texts", the above are terrific ways to provide opportunities to make connections to the text with a blend of modes with which to do so.  Students are able to share their thinking in ways that access their particular learning style.  

Win-Win, right?

While I do think I am on the right track, one of the issues I have had was with students not meeting the expectation, the goal, of a response for each book in our reading program. (See here for a little more about that.) Now I have been responsive to students' lives and have not been regimental in expecting a response for all books. And in modelling different activities, I have shown how much fun can be had while sharing the pleasure in reading a particular book and the depth of your connections to it. 

I am wondering, like other teachers about what we are doing to promote the love of reading, the freedom to read, the pleasure in sharing a book.

So how do you promote reading in your classroom?
How do we find the balance between passion and pleasure in reading with the chores and work-related tasks we, as teachers, too often attach to reading?

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