Last year was my first year teaching 4th grade after teaching kindergarten for 8 years. The first year in a new grade level is all about getting your bearings. Well I have always considered myself a really good reading teacher, but I was teaching kids how to read the words, now I have to teach them to understand the words. I was nervous and I followed the basal series like it was my bible and I used Daily 5 during my small group time.
Well now that I have a year under my belt I am ready to step out on my own and make some changes. I had originally planned to use novel units in place of the basal series. I was all set to make up these wonderful novel units to go with some great novels!
That is until I started reading teacher blogs and was introduced to the book The Book Whisperer. I was SO relieved and happy to have found this book BEFORE school started because I would have spent SO much time planning these novel units and I am sure they would have been somewhat effective but after reading just the first 5 chapters in this book I am totally on board! I feel like I did when I read Daily 5, I spent a lot of time saying to myself "this makes SO much sense! why didn't I think of this?" LOL
SO I have some changes I need to make (as soon as I can get into my classroom on the 8th) the first thing I need to do is rearrange my classroom library. I currently have my library set up by AR reading levels and I want to change it so that they are organized by genre so they will be easier to find books for their 40 Book Requirement.
At my school AR is a big deal and most of the teachers on my grade level require their students to have a certain number of AR points every so many weeks. I was going to do this too but I think that if I do the 40 Book Requirement then my students will be reading plenty and they can take AR tests on those books, and I won't need to include an AR requirement as well, I think that will keep kids from reading books they want to read if they are not AR books so while I will keep track of AR points I won't make a certain number of points requirement.
Another change I plan on making is I am really going rogue, I am going to do away with the book log and replace it with a Reading Notebook. I have already started putting these together for my kiddos (5 done 15 to go)
This is the first page, it is their Tally List where they will tally the books they have completed towards their requirement
This is the Reading List pages. This is where they will write down the title, and author of each book along with the date they finished it and whether they felt the book was easy, difficult or a Good Fit
This page is their "wish list" the page where they will write down the title and author of books they just can't wait to get their hands on
This page is the page that signals the beginning of their reader responses. Each book they read they will write a response to it. This page just gives them some ideas about what they can include in their responses.
I am really looking forward to my reading block this coming year. I can't wait to see the gains my students will make when they are allowed to choose their own books instead of reading what everyone else is reading.