Monday, March 28, 2011

Creating a Community of Reader's~ In and Outside of the Classroom

I read a post by Jen at Teach Mentor Text that posed the question "What do you do to promote reading in your classroom?" I could not resist this question, teaching young readers to love reading is one of my favorite things and with all the great authors and picture books, it isn't hard!

We Learn to Love Reading Through~ Read  alouds and learning how to think about books
One sure fire way to bring together a group of first graders is to open a book! This is a favorite time in our room. We gather together on the carpet with our friends and create memories. As I read they all sit and listen and think. They think about connections to their lives or others stories, their visual images, the feelings of the characters, what might happen next or why something already happened. They jot down questions or sketch in their thinking logs and make inferences, all the while, searching for the authors message.

We Learn to Love Reading Thorough~ An abundance of great books
We have an amazing public library in our area, which makes it easy to locate and check out new books! (Maybe too easy, I currently have a 2 full library cards and even a few books on my daughter's card.) In addition to our wonderful library system I am a good customer at Amazon and Cover to Cover (my favorite local book store). Following blogs like Mandy's at Enjoy and Embrace Learning helps me find great books to share with our class.

We Learn to Love Reading Thorough~ Choice
Readers have choice in the books they read, in and outside of our classroom. During reader's workshop readers roam our room looking for books that interest them. Maybe it's a favorite topic, a book recommended by a friend, or the newest book to hit our room. No matter the book, the choice is the readers. Readers also have choice in their reading at home. Each day readers choose a book from our classroom to take home. Yes, my personal books and books I have checked out from the library are all available to be taken home by the kids. Reading choice and learning how to choose books is necessary in creating life long readers.  For more information on reading choice see Cathy's post Home Reading; it's a Reader's Choice at Reflect and Refine. If we want children to value reading we need to honor all the reading they do, we need to value their choices as readers. This can be a challenge some days, last week Joel brought in a joke book that looked like an iphone. I wasn't sure about this particular choice but, after reading Sharon's post, All About Comprehension I decided to watch Joel and his book choice.  Joel quickly recommended his book in our class VoiceThread ( seen below). He instantly had a waiting list to borrow this new book! This isn't the kind of reading Joel does all the time but it is part of his reading life, his choice.

We Learn to Love Reading Thorough~ Peer book recommendations
I recently wrote a post about book recommendations in our classroom. Book recommendations are quiet popular and another great way to encourage young readers. Kids bring books from home; choose a favorite from the room, or even a book from the library to recommend to their friends! It's interesting to see the books that are shared and the books that kids just can't get enough of! You can count on at least one book recommendation a day in our room!  Once a book is shared kids read the book and comment on the book through VoiceThread, KidBlog or in our daily share circle.
The gift of VoiceThread and KidBlog is that it allows the readers to listen and comment form home and school. Conversations extend beyond our classroom, sometimes siblings and family members even participate!

We Learn to Love Reading Thorough~ Sharing our reading choices with families, friends and the world
As we share books each day the kids post the books on Shelfari. Shelfari allows us to share what we have been reading in our classroom.  Families can use this resource when choosing library books or books as gifts. The kids love adding books to out shelf! 

We Learn To Love Reading Through~ Weekly Book Winners!
Each week the books we share are collected in our treasure chest. Once the chest is full we vote for our favorite book. Once a book winner is selected the winner is uploaded into our Weekly Book Winner on VoiceThread. VoiceThread allows the readers to share his/her thinking about the book. This also extends our classroom by including our building media specialist, Jill. Jill listens to our comments on the weekly book winner and then shares her thoughts as well! The kid's love hearing Jill's comments and Jill gets a feel for the books we like and sometimes she recommendations books to our class!

Promoting reading is about choice, showing your love of reading and teaching kids how to open the gift of a book! 

Thank you Jen for asking, "What do you do to promote reading in your room?" and inspiring this post! Thanks to all the great teachers who have shared so many great ideas that have inspired my teaching! 


  1. I love all the ways you support choice in your classroom with young readers. It can be done! I need to explore, learn, and think about shelfari.

  2. I hadn't thought about using Shelfari. Great ideas that are important through all grades...even our secondary students.

  3. I wish my kids had you as a teacher!