Monday, June 11, 2012

Top 5 things I learned...#3...eyes on print

#3: You are not smart because you can read, you become smart because you DO read.

The engaged reader, the avid reader, the dormant reader, and the "I am going to turn pages and act like I am reading but I am not really reading" reader...there are many types of readers in every classroom.  But what I learned most...if  students have choice, they will read.  Notice I am not calling it independent is more "eyes on print" time.  Students need time to read and students want time to read.

In, Pathways to the Common Core, it states...
Pathways to the Common Core
"Of course, in order for students to make the necessary progress, they need at least 45 minutes in school and more time at home to read books...Chances are good that students who are not making optimal progress as readers do not have time in school each day for 45 minutes of eyes-on print reading and similar to time at home." (page 18)

My belief is that students need time to read, they need choice, they need to collect information about their reading life so they can reflect on what type of reader they are and what they need, and they need a Next Stack of books.  Students also need to be encouraged to "think deeply" about this reading...wait till I post #2 tomorrow on that one! :)

Time to Read and Choice:

My Status record sheet.
Each day I would begin Reading Workshop with Status of the Class.  I kept track of their daily reading.  This is a great way for the whole class to hear titles, share their progress, and I can then tell if they are reading nightly.  My students do not fill out nightly homework reading logs, they do not have parents sign them, nor do I have them record minutes, pages, etc...  We write "read" in our planners each night.  I do not set a time limit, but there is always a kid who asks...."how long"...and my response is a goal of 20 minutes and I always refer to the quote at the top of the page.  When inquiry based learning and wondering is supported, students take the quote above about "doing" the reading to heart.  They know that to gain new knowledge, to confirm prior knowledge, or to inspire must read.  They also know that "media" reading is a perfect match, exploring Wonderopolis, or continuing the book from Reading Workshop.  They have choice.

Reading Life:
Reading Graph...the "on pause" column is completely to the right,
 but I could not get it in my picture.
The one thing my students do collect are the titles of books that they complete and titles of books that they put "on pause".  This reading graph helps us to see what type of reader they are, what they need, and what we can celebrate.  As a class we determine the categories at the bottom and then I leave room for students to adjust the graph to their own needs.  At the end of each quarter, we reflect on our reading time.  It helps us to set a goal for the next 9 weeks, or just recently, the summer!

Next Stack:
We spend a week gathering books for our Next Stack.  Students store 5-6 books in their reading tubs.  They are not held to these titles, but it saves time and often is motivation, to go to the Next Stack when a book is completed.  At anytime a student can lose interest in a book, swap a book, add a book, etc...But the goal is that a stack of books are waiting for them and they have the choice to determine what is next.

One student said it best on her reflection form:
"I liked reading by myself.  I liked reading by myself because I love to sit down and read a book and I am into it and it makes me happy.  Another reason I liked it is when you are reading by yourself you can keep going on and on."


  1. I just arrived home from a short and very busy trip from SC and I am getting caught up on my blog reading! Wow I love all of your Top 5 posts but this one struck me because I agree students just need to read and in my school that is rare. I am one of few teacher who do not require set minutes, logging of ideas or connection cards. We also just write read on the plan book and the students understand what that means once we have established expectations in our classroom. Tremendous post!

  2. I hope your trip was fun! It is hard to put trust into "just read" time in our classrooms or at night...I think their enthusiasm, wonder, book choices, and conversations are "proof in the pudding" that reading does not need to be an assignment and we can not force kids to enter into a book at the same entry point :) Would love to hear your "top 5" from last year! I am sure you are anxiously awaiting number one tomorrow! Welcome back!!!!