Reading Life in 5th Grade
Our 5th Grade Reading Life - Part one:
If you're anything like I am you not only reflect at the end of the year, but after a unit/assignment/discussion I found myself constantly writing on sticky notes or a Word document the pros and cons of that lesson (and typically how I plan to alter that for the next year). As the beginning of the summer has approached, I always spend even more of my "free" time reflecting on the previous year. In this reflection I am also collecting PD books to read and even reread to make sure that when next year starts I am 100% ready to motivate my new students and inspire them to become/extend themselves as readers!
The beginning of summer is here, and as I sit in trainings already, my brain keeps going back to what worked well and what I plan to bring in the next year. I wanted to take this time to share with other teachers who may be looking for new ideas or even ideas to supplement what they are already doing.
The first thing I want to share is an oversight of how independent reading ran in my room:. Please note, every single summer I reread The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller. Her wisdom has inspired me and been so successful for me, personally, in the past few years. I trust anything/everything Donalyn has to say because she researches, she implements, and then she shares.
The year starts where we obviously have to build stamina. Stamina is the ability to sit, without interrupting others, without "fake reading", for an extended period of time. Even in 5th grade. I start with 15 minutes of independent reading. During the first few weeks I like to observe and see who seems to be struggling with their text, fake reading, or unsure of how to pick out a book. This is when I start to plan what our one-to-one conferring conversations are going to begin with by the 3rd week. If students start to get restless around 10 minutes, I stop independent reading and bring everyone back. We discuss daily those first two weeks about how they are feeling. Are you tired, are you struggling with your text, are you uninterested in what you have chosen? - These questions all drive my instruction and my structure of independent reading/one one one conferring/small group.
After a few weeks, and stamina increases, it becomes a non-negotiable where we come in and read silently for 20-30 minutes. At this time, I meet one on one with students/small group depending on what is needed based off spiraling of standards or individual needs.
The next thing I want to share are our book clubs I started this year. We ran two: Mock Newbery and Breakfast and Books club. We started the year with Mock Newbery until the award show came in February. After we watched the awards as a class, the next week we started Breakfast and Books.
Mock Newbery has become such a phenomenal way to get students excited about reading new released books. Those students who didn't feel comfortable coming in to 5th grade reading books that were 200-300 pages, I have an Audible account where I made sure the priority downloads were 2017 released novels for Mock Newbery. Audible was a game changer in my room. All of our students have iPads and I was logged into my account on all 75. It worked. Technically when you pay for an audiobook from Audible, it's yours, therefore; you own that book as if you had bought the CD from the store.
Choosing Mock Newbery books is something that (let's be real) I am still all over the place about. Amanda at My Shoestring Life shares amazing resources as to how she chooses what she includes with her kids. There is a list on Goodreads of potential Mock Newbery titles as well. I also pay attention to what my students interests seem to be, what is going on in their lives, which then helped in what books I book talked and which ones I made sure I had more than 1 copy of.
Purchasing Mock Newbery books: the question or side eye I always get. Yes, majority of these books I buy with my own money OR my mother does. This is where extra money goes of mine, it's my priority, but I do know that for others it is not that feasible. This is where creating a Donors Choose comes into play. If your district allows it - DO IT. You will be so surprised by the amount of family and friends who will be so excited to support what you do as an educator. I also have created Amazon Wishlists and shared on social media - successful. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't happen right away, but it will. Reaching out on marketplace on Facebook, donations from parents, checking out from your local library or even your school library, however you can get those new released books into your classroom, try try try. If you want more information on how this works/runs/etc., ask! I will gladly help you in any way I can.
Breakfast and Books: After Mock Newbery I knew I still needed to keep some of my students engaged in something outside of classroom reading so we started breakfast and books. We met once every 2 weeks at 7am to eat breakfast and talk books. The purpose was to read new releases to recommend for the next years Mock Newbery club. It was very successful. By the end of the year each student read 6 new 2018 books that they then wrote reviews on and I will leave them up and share for next years incoming 5th graders.
One thing I have learned is that at the beginning of the year whatever books I book talked and shared my love of - they ALL wanted to read, like begging and fighting over that book. Towards middle/end of year they took over the book talks and the response was just the same. Get those kids talking about books and I promise you kids will come out of the wood works interested in what they are talking about.
One final thing I wanted to share today are what books really stuck with, inspired, and motivated students to keep their reading life voracious.
These books were HUGE in our classroom - they were either the start or the progression of building a big reading life. To purchase these from Amazon, click on the photo above. They are affiliated links.
If you have any questions about what is above, don't hesitate to ask. I'll be back to continue sharing our reading life and some ideas I already have planned for next year!