As a follow up to Karley’s post on raising a reader, I thought I would follow up with some of the things I have been trying this year to help my students stumble into the can’t put the book down frame of mind.
Choose Books That Matter
This one is a given but I think it’s still worth mentioning… When you pick a book for novel study, lit circles, or read aloud make sure that its a book that is irresistible! One of my favourite books from when I was in grade 7 is “The Giver” and even though its a bit old and a very common choice, I was so excited to share this one with my students this year. It was a great choice! Plus one of the best moments was after showing the movie in class and having the whole class say, “Whoa! The book was so much better than the movie!”
Some other favourite books: “The One and Only Ivan,” “Uglies” and a new favourite, “Rain Reign” (this one will make your heart melt). Our own enthusiasm for books definitely shines through to our students.
The Book Draw
I’ve already talked about this one and there are definitely some drawbacks to this (namely the cost of buying books) but it has inspired a lot of excitement around new books. So far I have used a gift certificate for some majorly on sale books and a free gift from Scholastic orders. A favourite comment I overheard from a book draw winner was, “Hey I think I’ll actually read this book! It looks cool!” And that’s a win in my books!
This is an idea from one of my courses in university that I thought I would try out this year. We haven’t started yet but they are all set to go and I’m so excited! Through Scholastic orders this year I managed to get a bunch of novels with my bonus dollars. I am very fortunate to be in a classroom with a huge classroom library this year so that gave me the opportunity to plan out this Book Bin idea. I put together two boxes of 25 books that are all labeled with a sign out sheet. One box will stay in my classroom and one will go to my partner teacher’s room for a month. These books will be used for silent reading time, take home books, kids who are finished early – Whichever! After about 5 weeks we will switch bins so the class gets a new set of books. I am really excited to add the new books into the class mix and I think that my students will be really excited. I think the mix of the timeline and knowing the books will be shared with another class in the same grade will help to make reading irresistible for my students! We have also talked about turning it into a friendly competition between classes and writing book recommendations before we switch. I think there are so many possibilities with these bins.
Since I already have lots of books saved up from over the years I’ve made it so that these two book bins are reusable as is, and each year I can bring them in at some point.