Okay, so if you have ever been here before, you know that elementary math is my number one. But if you know me in real life you also know that I have LOTS of opinions, and I’ve never shied away from sharing them. So I’m here on this nice fall morning to share one quick reading idea with you that helps build community and create a culture of learning.
If you’re a living, breathing teacher you know that there are lots of different ways kids feel about reading. Some kids are good at reading and love it; some kids are good at reading and don’t love it; some kids aren’t good at reading, but really want to be because they love it; some kids aren’t good at reading and don’t really care because their interest is elsewhere. It was always important to me as a classroom teacher to establish from the beginning of the school year that everyone is a reader, and everyone is a mathematician. One way that I do this is by creating anchor charts with my kids that show what readers and mathematicians do. I talked about how to invest all learners as mathematicians here, and today I’m going to share with you how I accomplish the same thing for readers.
Reading, sometimes, can feel inaccessible to kids. Both because students are low level readers and they know it, but also because they might not be able to read a book they really want to. I work hard to not tell kids that books are too hard for them. If they’re selecting a book that might be too tricky, I can bring them back to this chart for a conversation, but if they’re adamant I don’t usually fight that fight. Because to me it’s more important that they read, or pretend to read, than that they hear that a book is too hard for them.
So here’s how I would normally make this chart.
1. Call all the children to the carpet.
2. Say something like this, “Friends, I know that everyone in here loves to read, and I bet last year you did a lot of hard work learning about reading. Now, I want to tell you something SO COOL! Some of you might already know this, and if you do you can show me the me too/I agree sign, but some friends might be learning this for the first time. Readers, did you know that there are THREE ways you can read any book?! Oh man, that is so cool! Okay, I bet we all know one way to read. What’s one way to read a book? (wait for students to tell you to read the words; this is generally their first idea. After they suggest it, add it to the chart.) Yes, you’re right, readers! We do read books by reading the words. Does anyone know another way to read? (pause for more answers; sometimes you have a friend who suggests reading the pictures, depending on their previous learning experiences) Yes! I can also read a book by looking at the pictures and telling myself the story! Now, why do you think I would read the pictures instead of the words in a book? (again, pause and wait for ideas. You’re ideally looking for someone to tell you that the book is too hard/they can’t read the words/they don’t know the words/something along these lines.) Now, there’s one last way to read a book, but it’s kind of tricky, so I’m going to tell you about it. The last way to read a book is to retell the story to a friend. Or a teacher. We can retell a story using just our mind, or we can retell it using the book. You can retell yourself a story that you love and know well, or a story that we maybe read together on the carpet. Before we practice these ways to read, let me show you what it might look like if you retell a story during independent reading. (model retell)
3. “Readers, did you know before today that there are 3 ways to read?!” (pause for students to use silent signal to say yes/no) “Well, I’m SO glad that you know now! Today, we’re going to practice all the types of reading. When I call your table you can go back to your seat and pull a book from the bin on your table, and read in one of the 3 ways we just talked about. Remember, readers, when we read the words in a book we use a whisper voice.” (dismiss 1 table at a time, after all readers are back at seats set timer for IR)
After our lesson, we have a chart that looks something like this that will hang in our classroom for a while. And by “a while” I mean “most of the school year”.
Alright, sweet friends, have a GREAT weekend!