We read 112 choice books last month!
Each link of the white chain above represents a choice book finished in January.
I do the same things every month to support our choice reading: I book talk, I model, I conference, I high five and I encourage the abandonment of books that don’t quite fit.
I also pass around a clipboard during our reading time where students mark their pages. My students are expected to read for ten minutes every night, and they do have a reading goal they’re expected to meet each week.
(pages read in ten minutes) x 12 increments of 10 minutes each week = (rate)
Truthfully, I really don’t care if they make their reading goal or not.
I’ve talked to a lot of teachers who get frustrated by the accountability clipboard, since it tells them that many (okay, most) students aren’t reading at night. After reviewing the data, they lecture their students about their failure to complete their homework. Reading again becomes WORK, and students again hate it.
As you can see from our chart, most of my students don’t meet their reading goal every week. Some students may read five pages a week, while some read 126.
I force myself not to be frustrated. I tell my students to be honest during the clipboard rotation, because I’m not going to yell if they’re not meeting their goal. Because they’re still reading.
If students aren’t progressing in their books, I conference with them more often. More often than not, at the first check-in of a slow reader, it’s revealed that they hate their book. So I pull new books, and we toss the boring one back on the shelf.
I keep all of my students on the same chart, because I like when they spy on what everyone else is reading. The titles that pop up the most often are the titles that I stock in my classroom library. (The most popular right now: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Martian, and Stand-Off.)
Nobody in my classroom is ever without a book during our reading time. When students write that they’ve finished a book, or just leave their space blank, that’s my cue to pull a pile of new books for them. At this point of the year, I know exactly what genre each of my students prefers and what genres they hate, so pulling recommendations is easy.
Our choice reading also helps me get to know my students better. I keep all of our old logs in a three-ring binder, and I use them as a reference when I’m stuck on titles, or when I want to check out old reading rates. (This also comes in handy when I’m trying to track down missing books in June!)
I accept that my room might be the only place that my students can read, and I support them however I can.
We’ve read 412 choice novels so far this year.