Connect with your kids around reading | Mentoring in the Middle

Connect with your kids around reading

One of the most important things I do on the SECOND day of school is give all three of my classes a Reading survey. 

The information I gather from them is jotted down on my Note sheet, one for each student, which guides our discussion when we meet individually to talk about what they're reading.

I meet with my students during the time they read independently.  In my classroom, I carve out two blocks of time for independent work.  One of the times has to be reading, the other may be writing or word work.  I post all their choices on my Activboard, showing students the variety they have to choose from in three categories - Read to Self, Word Work, and Work on Writing.  Then I set a timer on the board.  I wasn't sure if that would be beneficial or not, but consistently, my students tell me they like to know how much time they have left if they get to a place where they might want to stop.  If time allows, they keep going.  Starting with the first week of school, we work our way up to half an hour (although this year will have to be shorter since my periods are shortened!)

Students can "read around the room" using pillows or stuffed animals, or they may sit at their desks.  The choice is theirs, and it's something we discuss, practice, and evaluate in those first few weeks.

Once we've practiced what reading looks and sounds like, our individual meetings focus on what they're reading, what reading strategy they're working on (we decide that together, and sometimes I let them choose), and what they want to read next.  I LOVE these meetings, and most of the time, so do they!  They remind me when we're scheduled to meet, and often give me suggestions for books I should read!

Truly, this is the heart of my teaching!  I can't tell you how much I love this part of my day.  I get to know my kids in such a personal way, and they pick up on my enthusiasm for books.  Yes, even the picky ones. 

Every book they start is recorded in their Reading log, with a mark showing they quit it, or they finished it.  Even my read-alouds are included.  In addition to the title and author, I also have them list the genre. 

Why is that important?  Have you ever had a kid tell you he/she is "picky about books"?  Or complain that he/she can "never find a good book"?  When that happens, we take a look at the log.  What books were quit?  Was it the author, the difficulty level, or the genre?  I've found that this log gives me good evidence to help move that student to a book that will be more appealing.

And it melts my heart when I see them observe a student looking over books on my shelves, and they go over to make suggestions, walking them through one author or genre after another, like the little experts they've become!

This Back to School Reading Bundle contains everything you need to get started.  Why not take a look?
Have a great week!

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