Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reading Celebration

One of my focuses this year has been to get my students excited about reading. We are getting into the home stretch of this school year and some of my student's interest was waning. Over Spring Break I came up with the idea to make a display of some sort in an effort to spark some reading excitement again. It looks like it is going to end up being a graph. It is a work in progress!

We have worked on this over a number of days. First we brain stormed genres. We had talked about genres a bit this year, but I hadn't made a genre requirement for my students and their reading.

I let the kids lead the discussion and this was pretty much what they came up with. As we started making the chart and talking about the books we have read they realized we needed a couple more categories. Later we added picture books and poetry. I suggested we also add historical fiction, but they ixnayed that one.

The next step was for everyone to examine their lists of books read and get to work filling out a slip of paper for each book they read. For some this was quick task and for others it is a lot more work! They needed to get some helpers.

Some students were finished quite quickly. "I know I have read more books. I should have written them down!" was something I heard more than once!

Mmhm. I think I have said that a few times this year!

Some realized their lists were incomplete, were missing an author name, etc. There was a flurry of activity as they looked the books up on the computer or tried to locate then in our classroom library.

We organized the genres with baskets. Tomorrow I will put the slips of paper up and see how well we are doing so far.

I loved the discussions that came out of this exercise. Great debates developed as they tried to decide a book's genre and they had some fabulous discussions recalling the story line of some of the books. We learned that genre lines are not cut and dry. Magic Treehouse is kind of fantasy fiction, but it all could be non-fiction because it teaches some facts. With some books we had to agree to disagree.

One of the things I didn't anticipate was the fuzzy area about what is fantasy versus realistic fiction. You see, when you are in Gr. 3 witches can seem very real. And it makes perfect sense that if an animal DID eat some magic alligator tongues, it might very well grow to great heights and end up inhabit aging a giant peach. I left those decisions to them. I guess genres can change over time as kids grow!

I think this exercise will accomplish its purpose. Everyone seemed a little more excited about reading, about keeping track of what they have read and about reading more. That is what I hoped would happen!

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