The Book Whisperer: What am I ALREADY doing? {freebies}

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OK...so I re-read The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child (you didn't think you were going to get away with not hearing about it again did you?? ;) ) and I am really honing in on the idea of making reading a central theme of my room.  Making it so integral, that everything revolves around it.

BUT I don't want to start from scratch either.  So I have been thinking about what I do have in my room that I can continue using and will promote an atmosphere of reading.  Here is what I have come up with so far.

Read Aloud:  I like to end the day reading aloud from a chapter book for the students.  I generally try to choose high-interest books that I know the kids will look forward to.  This is something that I know the kids enjoy and, frankly, I do too.  We really do have some great discussion from it and the kids get so into it....I feel at times we do have those "Reader Chats" that Mrs. Miller talks about straight from the Read Aloud.  The only thing with it is that the read alouds seem very random to me.  Like, we read the book, then it is done.  I just want to make some sort of record of what we read, so I made a little chart to hang on the wall as a permanent record of our reading.  Nothing special, just a chart for the wall.  Here is a copy for you, in case you would like to make a record too.

What Are You Reading? Board:  For the past two years, I have had the students keep record of what they were reading on index cards attached to a little ring on a bulletin board.  It worked ok.  I personally just loose steam with it mid-year, so the kids do to.  I think that has a lot to do with the fact that reading isn't front and center in my room.  I am going to recommit to this idea this year.  I think I will allow the completion of one of the index cards to stand in for a reading log day (I will get to that in a minute.)




Reading Logs:  OK...I am just not ready to let these go.  I know Mrs. Miller is anti-reading log, but I am not.  I am also not at the point where I don't want the kids responding to reading daily....so my reading log stays.  If you haven't seen it before, here is a post I wrote about it.  I really feel like it is a valuable tool to get the kids thinking and responding, so, for now, it is going to stay in my room.

Reading Recommendations:  This year, these totally were thrown out with the bathwater.  I just didn't enforce it or, actually, even show the kids how to use them.   They are going to be back this year though.  Again, I think I might make them an "alternative" to a reading log day so that I am sure they work their way into my classroom routine, but I definitely want the students to be recommending what they read.  Using these forms made it very easy for them in the past so now, with me back on board, recommendations should be flying out of their hands!  :)  I made my forms on Vista Print, but here are some for you to print out from your computer.   And if you would like to read more in depth about this whole idea, here is my original post about it.

Are you reading The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every ChildWhat are your thoughts about how to integrate what you already do with the new things that you are going to for sure be doing?

21 comments

  1. I loved reading this Steph...sorry I've been so behind in your fabulousness. I should reread the book myself, it's been a year and I'm a bit foggy. I think I did very well with the time to read component this year (reading at those odd moments when work was finished and just before the next lesson was ready to begin, though believe me my kids weren't reading books while waiting in line to get their school pics, that was amazing to me!).

    I'm trying to figure out how to evolve our reading responses this year...I've always done Reader's Responses, but I'm looking to expand upon this so it is more of a daily occurrence. I've been thinking of a series of shorter responses (using our very dear friend Jen's comprehension fans, but of course!) and having one or two more extended responses a week? I'm still in that beginning-of-summer-mulling-it-over phase though. I love that you are reading the book and thank you for sharing all about it! I'm going to start it again next week so I can think some more too :)

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    1. I like the idea of daily responses too...with time though, not sure how to do it without continuing it as homework. Still have to mull....

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  2. I love your read aloud chart, that is a great idea. I tried writing a record on these chalkboard dots I bought, but they didn't end up working too well. I just read The Book Whisperer this year, so I'm still deciding how I want to use it in my room. It looks like you are doing great with figuring out how you will use it next year!

    Jamie
    Sixth Grade Tales
    Follow my new Facebook page

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    1. I am still in that process too Jamie....I just thought if I actually blog about the stuff, things might get done ;) hee hee

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  3. I like that you are holding on to your reading logs. I don't personally use them, but I have learn that we do each need to find our own style of creating readers. :) Great post!
    ~Brandee
    Creating Lifelong Learners

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  4. Just a comment about the overall idea for this post. I love it. I have a yoga teacher who constantly reminds us that when we are trying to achieve and work towards something new sometimes you can't look at all the things you haven't done or can't do or are overwhelmed by. It's important to take time to stop and reflect on what you are already able to do on the way to a new skill. Great that you thought to apply this to teaching!

    Polka Dots & Teaching Tots

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  5. Hi Stephanie,
    I love the idea of daily reading logs and having the students respond on a nightly basis. What I struggled with when I used these last year in my 5th grade room was this:
    -the kid who just did a terribly poor job completing the log
    -the kid who never turned it in.

    Curious to know how you deal with these issues in your room, because I couldn't get a good handle on how to fix these problems.
    Thanks!
    Kristin
    Fifth Grade Ramblings

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    1. It really is hard! I find that the more I model, show good examples of actual students on the ELMO, and continuously check (and have the students redo the poor ones) the better/more thought out the responses are. It takes time on my part....especially at the beginning. But if I am diligent, they really do produce good work.

      As for the kids who don't turn it in...well, those ones (at least for me) tend to not turn ANY homework in, so that is a totally different battle ;) BUT, I keep expecting it, and they still have to do the "no homework" consequences.

      I know all of this is anti-joy of reading that is presented in the book, but I am still not ready to let go of the tangible, written evidence of reading. Not just yet at least.

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  6. I've got to read this book! :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Although I haven't read the book, I still like reading logs. I think it allows students to document what books they are reading. It's so cool to look back on the books you've read over the year. I do it myself! I log all my books on goodreads.com. I love getting recommendations from friends and reading books!

    Christina
    cowanscaterpillars.blogspot.com

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  7. I like all of these ideas, especially the read aloud chart and the little rings with what they are reading.
    Polliwog Place

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  8. I just re-read this book too. I struggle with reading logs. This is the first year I did not have some sort of home reading log and I fear that a lot less reading took place at home!! I let parents and students know that reading each day for 15-20 minutes was expected but without the log some parents did not enforce it with their children. My strong readers read and went through class books like crazy, the struggling readers felt like it was a free pass not to read (I think). I too wonder about students who never fill out the log, or return response sheets filled out poorly, ack! So much to think about.

    Looking From Third to Fourth

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  9. I just started reading this book and love it already! I feel so inspired right now....I hope it lasts until I go back to school! I also struggle with the reading logs. Last year was the first year I didn't make the reading log mandatory, but would randomly reward those who turned them in and I had very few that filled them out. So I also feel like it is something that needs to be required. Great post...I'm going to reread your post when I'm done with the book too :)
    Bethany
    FabandFunin4th!

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  10. I read this book last summer and loved it! I do a lot of the things she suggests in her book, and a lot of the things you mentioned in this post. I really want to skim through the book again this summer and make sure that I haven't forgotten something for this new year!

    -Nick
    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason

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  11. I read this book a few years ago and loved it! I thought then that I need to make reading central in my room like it was/is in my home. I read a lot of kids' books because I want to be able to talk to my students (past/present) about books. I also took donalyn's idea about taking a book w/ us when we have to wait. My own children do that for a trip just to Wal-Mart, so why not my students while they wait for their classmates to finish getting their picture taken or when we go to school store, any time there may be a few minutes of waiting. Good luck with the exciting changes in your classroom!! :)

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    1. That is one of my takeaways too. Just getting into the habit of reading while you wait...and there are so many "read while you wait" moments throughout the school day. Makes perfect sense!

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  12. I've struggled with how to handle responses, so I'm glad you're bringing it up! I've been teaching in Teachers College Reading and Writing Project schools for my whole career, so much of what The Book Whisperer advocates is what I already do, but the accountability piece is where I get stuck. I think I've finally made peace with these things (maybe?). I always hear the voice of a particularly awesome TC staff developer in my head reminding me that there should always be more reading than writing--her rule of thumb was and 80/20 reading vs. writing. I decided this year that I needed to pick one or 2 avenues to assess written response, and that I would allow myself to assume that if they could demonstrate the skills there, it was likely that they had internalized them overall. So I predominantly assessed this skill with their writing about our read-aloud.

    Reading logs are an issue I go back and forth on--I'm leaning towards not doing them this coming year. I think that I have to keep the purpose in mind. If it's accountability, I assign 30 min. of reading per night, but writing it on a log doesn't always = really doing it, even if their parents sign it, unfortunately. I think I need to do a much better job of regularly communicating (newsletter style) the significant impact that not reading daily can have on school success or lack thereof, and that not doing it will (for most kids) eventually become obvious, even if not while in my class, kwim? If it's to use the info to get a sense of what they are reading, how many pages a day they are reading, how to help them with next steps, etc., they read at least 45 min a day in class, so gathering that info during the day should suffice. It's complicated! I love that Book Whisperer--have you checked out The Nerdy Book Club? She blogs there as well. I also suggest Nancy Atwell's The Reading Zone.

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  13. Hi Stephanie,

    Reading logs are so hard for me. The main reason I keep them is for documentation purposes. It sounds silly, but that documentation has been really helpful for me in the past.

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  14. I love the idea of having students post the books they have read on rings. I have a form for this that students keep in their reading folders, but I like your way better. I think it's good for students to display their accomplishments.
    Thank you!
    Mary
    http://fittobefourth.blogspot.com/

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  15. I read The Book Whisperer for the first time this summer and loved it! I decided to keep my reading log, but not require parents to sign it anymore. I liked how she had students take books with them everywhere and made it the focus of their day. I plan to do that too. I also liked her book commercials idea and plan to try that.

    Like you, I keep a log of what we read as a class and for read aloud. I pull the books for Open House and have them displayed on my whiteboard tray. The kids love to share them with their parents.

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