Thursday, July 3, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Self-Selecting Reading

We're in week 3 of our book study!

Chapter 2: Wild Readers Self-Select Reading Material is a big chapter with several key points, but I've decided to focus on just a couple. It's important for us to give our students opportunities to "self-select" their own reading material. They become so dependent on us for books and sometimes we dictate what can be read and what can't be read. 
This quote says it all! My read aloud time during the day is my FAVORITE time of day! I could read hours to my students. I NEVER get to all the books I want to share with them.
 Donalyn Miller shares all the benefits of reading aloud to your students:
  • Builds community.
  • Exposes children to books, authors, or genres they might not discover on their own.
  • Provides prime opportunities to introduce students to genres they often avoid, like poetry, and non-fiction.
  • Supports developing readers.
  • Reinforces that reading is enjoyable.
Here I am in action...reading Stumptown Kid...{love!}
I definitely have some "favorites" that continue to make appearances in my classroom year after year, but I'm planning on using a new book at the beginning of school with a new strategy in mind. I ordered a class set of Among the Hidden (you DON'T have to have a class set of books for a read aloud, but it does make it nice to cite evidence, debate, and refer back to important moments when every student has a copy). The reason I'm starting with this novel is because it's part of a series and when I purchased a copy of each book at the last half of the year, I couldn't keep them on my shelf! I'm hoping this book opens these new 4th graders eyes to more challenging text and gets them hooked on series or favorite authors.
I plan to implement the idea of book raffles for new book arrivals that enter our classroom. Any time you make a contest/raffle, excitement will fill the room! My friend Catherine, the lovely organizer of this book study, posted about she held book raffles in her room here.
I usually just do a short "book talk" on new books or books I want to be discovered by my students. In years past, I've had my students sign up for books talks and give a little blurb about the book. I haven't done had book talks the last couple of years (you know, that time thing!) and I've missed it, so I plan to bring it back in full swing this year. I just have to carve time out of my schedule and make it happen. It's important for students to hear their friends talk about books and take recommendations from them. What a perfect way for students to select their own reading!
After reading an incredible book, students will sign up to be scheduled to discuss their book in front of the class. I created the Book Talk form to aid students in preparing for their book talk. I don't want them reading from their form and they don't have to answer every question, but this form will give them some guidance to hit the important parts. :)


Want to grab these forms for your classroom? Click here to download this freebie if you're a Facebook Fan! 


  1. I loved that Book Raffle idea too! I need to be sure to remember it when the school year starts. I have a huge class library and am a big believer in letting the kids have choice (though I do make them read across the genres throughout the year).

    I keep a class set of the "Among the..." books on my shelf, and my kids eat them up. I haven't read one aloud yet. I too LOVE the read aloud part of my day more than just about any other time!

    Love the freebie!

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason
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  2. I love your book talk freebie! I have never read Among the Hidden but it is going on the list!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  3. I love the idea of having students sign-up for Book Talks. Thank you so much for the freebie, Joanne. :)

  4. I've never even heard of "Stumptown Kid"- I'll have to check it out! The "Among the Hidden" series was HUGE a few years ago in a 5th grade classroom I worked in! Thanks for the freebie!

  5. I LOVE "Among the Hidden!!" Great series and you are right -- it gets kids hooked. "The Lemonade Wars" is another one that does that and sometimes you can get those for $1 from the Scholastic Book Club. I was at Office Depot this morning and was thinking of you! Their clearance bins were overflowing and I picked up some cool Post-Its. :)) I hope you are having a GREAT summer, friend!
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  6. Really enjoyed reading your post and all of them related to this text! Love your book talk sheet! :0)


  7. I love this Book Talk template. I like your Facebook page but can't find this freebie. Is it still available?

  8. Are these book talk forms still available?

  9. I, too, am looking for that awesome Book Talk template! I am a facebook fan but it does not appear to be available there. Help!

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