A motivating way for students to read, remember and recommend!!

21 08 2011

I thought of a great way to get kids to remember what they read and get ideas for their next book: Shelfari! This  is a place for readers to keep track of the books they’ve read, books they want to read, write book reviews, get book recommendations and participate in group discussions. 

I think this will help my students to read various genres (since I require them to in the 30 book challenge I do) and create exposure and motivation for reading books they normally may not read. After students have read a book, they will log in to their virtual bookshelf, where they can rate their book, write a review and create tags to track the book. Then Shalfari gives recommendations of other books the student may enjoy. Students can also check out their friend’s “shelf” and see what they are reading. 

I am going to try this, this year to see how it goes. If you aren’t ready to have all your students create their own shelf, you can create your own shelf, rate and review books that you think your students may enjoy. Although I don’t think it will be as motivating as having their own shelf and checking out their friends!! 🙂 Has anyone else tried something like this out with students? 

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Somebody Wanted But So Then

4 04 2011

This is a great summary strategy that you can have kids do with a short story, class novel, literature circles or individual reading books. I have the kids take the three main characters from their story and write their names in the somebody section. They then fill out what that character wanted but then what happened so then this happened. Then I have them write a brief summary of the story at the bottom. I find this is a good way for me to assess student’s reading when they are all working on their 30 book challenge. I included the chart below:

SWBST Strategy

Name:

Somebody Wanted But So Then
 

 

       
 

 

 

       
 

 

 

       
Write your summary here:

 

 

 





30 Book Challenge Update Part II

11 01 2011

In my previous post, I talked about how my 30 book challenge update is going. I got long winded, so I decided to make it two posts. Here is the rest of my thoughts about my 30 book challenge…

  • Once the students have read 10 books, they get a 10 book challenge sticker and get to put their name on a poster I made that says 10 book champ!. They LOVE seeing their name on the board. I also take a picture of each student and post it on my website – they are very proud! 🙂
  • When my students have read 20 and 30 books, they also get a sticker and get to write their name on the 20 book champ or 30 book challenge champ poster. At the end of the year, I plan to have a party with all 30 book challenge champ readers. I am hoping to get some local businesses to donate some gift cards to raffle off as prizes.
  • At the beginning of the year I was worried about giving prizes for each milestone they reached (10-20-30 books). I have found that they are really intrinsically motivated to read!
  • At the beginning of the year I told the students to take advantage of any free time that they have. Other teachers on my team have commented that any free time the students have ( after a test, or when they have completed an assignment) they immediately get their book out and read.
  • Kids are proud of their accomplishment and like to brag to others how many books they have read and suggest good books to each other.
  • My favorite moments was when a student (a not very big reader) up to me first thing in the morning  and told me that the night before he had read the rest of the book, Jerk. Then he re-read the entire book that night! He then told me that he wasn’t happy with his choice piece (we had a final piece for writing workshop due soon), so he re-wrote his choice piece that was inspired by the book! He told me he typed 24 pages on Word at midnight!! His story-  made me SMILE! 🙂
  • I think as a teacher it is moments like the one above that make all our hard work worthwhile!! Remember to write these small moments down- they keep you going when times get tough!




30 Book Challenge Update

4 01 2011

Many of you have asked about the 30 book challenge and how it has been working. I have to say that even I am surprised at how much my students are reading!!! I have had a lot of people ask how and why I think the 30 book challenge has been such a success. Here are my thoughts and ideas, now that we are about 15 weeks into the process:

  • The number one reason I believe it works is because I READ and know A LOT of books! I am able to recommend many books to all different types of students and readers. Once they have found a few books that they like, they gain so much confidence in their reading and they see that they actually like to read. I firmly believe that there is a book out there for everyone. People who say they don’t like to read, just haven’t found the right book! :)It is amazing that I haven’t assigned points to the number of books they are reading, and they keep reading!! The way they get points is each week we blog about the books that they are reading, and the content on their posts is where they get their points. If you want to get kids to read- forget about reading more professional books about how to get kids to read- read yourself, get lots of good books in your room or school library, and talk A LOT about books! Recommend them to the class, groups of students, individual kids and the kids will see that you know what you are talking about! Every morning, as I stand at my door every period I have at least one student stop and talk about a book that they are reading. Sharing that experience  is such a powerful experience for them as a reader!
  • I check how many books each student has read about every 3 weeks and mark down on a chart how many books they have read. This lets me know who I need to check on and encourage to read, and who I need to offer some books suggestions to.
  • I have found that my kids LOVE recommending books to each other. On the back of their 30 book challenge sheet I have a Books I plan to read list that they can write books that sound to good to them. This helps them to easily pick their next book.
  • I also have the students check each other’s blogs and write down books that sound good.
  • At the beginning of the year, I made sure to plan 15 min. for silent reading time. This enabled my students to get into their books and to see that everyone is reading and that I value reading. I also read with them. We got to the library every other week and I block that time off for silent reading only. We have a little reading corner in our library and I give them about 5 min. to get settled, and then I go over and read on the floor with them. I don’t have to tell them to get reading, stop talking or anything else. They see that I am reading and realize that this is not time to ask questions  or goof off, but to relax and enjoy reading! The kids love it! They beg for it on the weeks we don’t have library time!  🙂

If you can’t tell I am really passionate about getting my kids to read and find books they enjoy. This post is getting far too long- so I will post again on the rest of my 30 book challenge ideas!

Let me know if you have done something like this and what has worked for you!





Top Ten Lists

27 09 2010

For my student’s blog this week, I had them find Golden Lines and create a top ten list on their book. I gave them some ideas ( see below). I also required them to write a sentence or two describing, or explaining each number. I was surprised at how they ran with their top ten lists. Many kids made up a top ten list that was specific to their book. It was fun to read and grade these! 🙂

1. Top ten reasons to read this book.

2. Top ten things, or reasons, I hate or love about my character.

3. Top ten favorite quotes from my book.

4. Top ten questions I would like to ask the author of my book.

5. Top ten lessons I have learned from this book.

6. Top ten places mentioned in my book.

7. Top ten things I wanted to scream out loud about my book.

8. Top ten things I can’t stop thinking about in my book.

9. Top ten other movies, books, magazines and other world events that have happened that relate to my book.

10. Create your own top ten list that fits your book!





Let the Reading Begin….

6 09 2010

I introduced the 30 book challenge last week to my students (click here for an explanation on it). I was a little nervous about their reaction to me telling them that they were going to be required to read 30 books this year! I decided that I needed to kick off the 30 book challenge in a BIG way. I got a bunch of 30 birthday party decorations for the party store. I had streamers that had the number 30 at the bottom that I hung all over the room, I had big 30s all over and I wore a 30 necklace too!  I put balloons on the door and just told them that the 30 was something to get excited about and it was a project we are going to do this year. Many kids came in and wished me a Happy 30th birthday! 🙂

After our opening writing spark and poem that we read together, I introduced the 30 book challenge. I told them to be positive and to not let negatives get in the way, or say I can’t do this- that this is a BIG challegne and they can do it!!!  I was really surprised at how positive they were. Even though some seemed to think it was impossible, they all agreed that they would give it a try!
I had them all sign a contract stating that they would try their hardest etc… and we made a big deal of that.

I also made this motivational video for them to watch, I took clips from Pursuit of Happiness, Coach Carter and Rocky with some of Ali’s speech… They loved it and were excited to see if they could accomplish such a big challenge!

As much as I was anxious about how they would take this, they all found a book to get started on, and they have been reading every spare minute!! I have given them a lot of time to read this week in class to get them going. This coming week I am going to have them start writing in their reading journals once a week about their book.

I have decided that I am going to have recognitions for every 10 books they read and I want to give them some kind of prize. For example the 10 book challenge club, 20 book challenge club and the 30 book challenge wall of fame!! I am struggling with the types of prizes that I can give them for their 10 book and 20 book challenge. At the end of the year when they reach 30 books, I will have a big party for them and am thinking of holding a drawing for bigger prizes (gift certificates etc..). In order to keep them going I need to get good cheap prizes or incentives- any ideas???





30 Book Challenge- here we come!!!

22 08 2010

School starts for me this week!  I have been thinking of implementing a new program into my reading program. It is called the 30 Book Challenge. It is a modified idea taken from the The Book Whisperer.

I am expecting my students to read 30 books this year. I am giving them a grid chart  so that they can record the books they have read. I want them to experience reading various genres, so I am requiring them to read certain genres and also giving them choice.  I know that since they need to read so many books, I am going to have to do more book talks this year than in the past. I am also working on a place for students to share good books they have read so that they can choose books they are interested in to help complete their 30 book challenge.

In each box, the students will write the title of the book they read that fits the genre. I will then initial the box as a way of tracking their books. I have already scheduled a check-in with each student  once a month during our library day to keep track of their progress. Here is what my grid chart looks like:


I am also going to complete the challenge with them, and I am putting my chart on the board so that they know that I realize that it really is a challenge!

Since this is the first year I am doing this, I am going to see how it goes and make adjustments and changes as necessary. If it gets my kids to read even more books than they have in the past I will see it as a success! Any suggestions you may have if you have done something similar to this would be appreciated! 🙂

Here is a copy of the information I am going to give to them to explain the challenge….

The Challenge!!

Throughout the course of the school year you will be reading 30 books. Yep, you read it right…30! It may seem like a big number but don’t worry; you’ll be surprised how easy it actually is to read them all. The 30 book challenge is going to open your eyes to a wide variety of literary genres and will hopefully foster within you an appreciation, if not a love, for reading. Below you will find a link to everything you will need to complete the 30 book challenge. The most important thing is to choose books that interest you. You will have some time in language arts class to read, and may find time in other classes to read, so ALWAYS have your book in ALL of your classes.

This is a BIG challenge that will be an amazing accomplishment at the end of the year! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Information for the Challenge

The 30 Book challenge goes from September through May. The 30 Book Challenge is completed on the honor system, so as you complete each book you will come and tell me and I will sign off for you on your Genre Check-off List. Books exceeding 350 pages may be considered as two books for that genre. All books must be at grade level or above.

Get Ready! Get Set! Read!








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