Sunday, July 31, 2011

Need to make a decision about reader's notebooks!

Every time I see the commercial from Staples with the dad riding joyfully down the school supply aisle as his children trudge along behind him...I have to laugh!  Not sure if it is the connection to the father (I love getting school supplies and the idea of going back to school), the connection to the kids (uh-oh...Sunday nights are going to have a whole new meaning and I am going to have to start packing my lunch), or the music playing in the background (Christmas is my favorite holiday!).  All I know is right now school supplies are on sale, it is August, and I need to make a decision about how to set up my reader's notebooks this fall.

Here is what I am thinking right now...

The reader's notebook will have four sections and all four sections will be housed in a three ring binder.

1.  Spiral Notebook:  The first section will be a spiral notebook that is placed in the binder using the three rings.  The purpose of the spiral notebook will be to have a place where students can record their thinking about books before, during, and after their reading.  I have chosen a spiral notebook so the students can take it out of the binder and go anywhere in the classroom to jot about their reading.  The spiral notebook will also be a place where students can tape/glue their post-its from their reading after they complete a book.  I think of this section as "thinking on the go".

2.  My Reading: This will be the second section of the binder using a divider.  This will be where the students hold their completed book logs and reading graphs. (Refer to the earlier post on Looking closer at independent reading...)

3.  My Thinking:  This will be the third section of the binder using a divider.  This will be where students will hold letters to me about their reading, reflections on how one of their jottings impacted their reading of a book, book club thinking, etc...The purpose of this section is to hold thinking that has been developed through evidence, conversations, background knowledge and strategy lessons.

4.  My Thoughts:  This will be the fourth section of the binder using a divider.  This will be where students hold their reflections about their reading and reading behaviors.  It will be focused on their thoughts of themselves as a reader.  The students will store book log reflections, book club reflections, and interview answers in this section.

I am excited that at a moment's notice I can grab a binder and have a student's jottings (spiral notebook), their reading log and graph, their more developed thinking, and reflections at my finger tips.  This reader's notebook will hold the evidence I need to inform my instruction for each individual reader. deciding this now...maybe I can find the spiral notebook for ten cents, the dividers half off, and the binders for under a dollar!!!  Happy School Shopping!


  1. Great reflection about reader's notebooks I have to admit I LOVE school supply shopping too.

  2. Thanks Maria! If you have a moment...I would love to hear how you set up your reader's notebooks!!! I am going to house all of the inquiry they do with Wonderopolis in a composition notebook. PS...who doesn't love a new box of crayons??? :)

  3. I loved hearing about how you will organize the reader's notebook. I'm playing around with having a separate section for interactive read aloud thinking/annotating? As a kid I used to make my mom buy me school supplies in July to get ready because I was so excited...nerd alert!

  4. I have almost the same categories as you except that I have the students keep a WONDER spiral for Wonderopolis instead of using the spiral for their reading thinking. My kids just use their 3 ring for that :) I like having the WONDER journal separate that way it can travel home easily. Also I have a strategy section for mini lessons but otherwise we are both right on the same page. I love a new box of sharpened colored pencils too.

  5. Amy and Maria...thanks for posting a comment! you set your WONDER spiral in any particular way or is it just full of wonder :)???

  6. Just full of wonders-however thinking this year I might let the kids decorate the cover with anything that they wonder about as an intro to wonderopolis. Also will be posting later in the week on wonder jars and that will set me up for that also.

  7. Maria...can't wait for your post on "Wonder Jars"!!! I bought three of them today at Lakeshore for $2.99. Can't wait for them to be filled with wonder!