Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I haven’t read. ~Abraham Lincoln

Over the weekend I was able to spend some time exploring a local bookstore.  As I was in the checkout line, I found the above quote on a book bag.  My mind started to wonder to the number of days that are left in the school year and the “next read book stack” that is growing by the minute next to my bed and in my classroom.  I spent time hoping each book was anxiously waiting a turn to be read at the pool, on vacation, or late on a Sunday night. Do our students have the same vision of summer reading?  Do they look forward to the idea of immersing themselves in authentic reading experiences that are done on their terms, in their environment, and with text they selected?

As the school year begins to wind down, the greatest gift we can give our students is guidance in developing a summer reading plan.  Thinking back to the start of the school year, we spend so much time on mini-lessons that focus on “just right” reading selections and genres for independent reading.  At the end of the school year, we should also spend just as much time celebrating the books we have read during independent reading, rereading books that have impacted our reading life, and receiving book recommendations for the summer months. In the classroom, students could support each other by performing book recommendation skits or videos, participating in book swaps, creating book awards (scariest book, funniest book, most surprising book, most lovable character, etc…), or gathering a list of titles from all the book conversations that would occur.

Why should the students have all the fun?  At our school, we have a teacher group that meets bi-weekly in our media center called “Spotlight".  It is an optional meeting time where we “spotlight” a picture book, read it as a group, discuss our experience with the text, and discover all the possibilities within the text for instruction across grade levels.  Our time together this week asks each teacher to bring a book that they want to read, reread, or recommend to the staff for the summer months.  The books can be personal selections, picture books, student novels, and/or professional books.  The lists and stacks we create during our time together will hopefully serve as a model for future mini-lessons on developing a summer reading plan.

Here are the titles that I am bringing in my “next read stack” to share with the group…
Professional Read...
Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action
By Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels

Picture Book...
Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships By Catherine Thimmesh

Children's Novel...
Because of Mr. Terupt
By Rob Buyea
Personal Read (adult)...
Love the One You're With
By Emily Griffin

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