Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to increase the amount of voluntary reading done by students. Voluntary reading of personally chosen books has significant positive effects on growth in comprehension, vocabulary, and reading fluency. (Wilson) 1992) All of these things should be our goal as teachers for our students. This lesson is not one that can be presented, exercised, and assessed all in one day. It may not be done in one week. Peer conference groups need to be formed, regular visits to the library must be arranged, "free" time in each school day must be allowed, and modeling voluntary reading by the teacher are all some basic means of how to increase voluntary reading of children.
1) An area in classroom for small library that is inviting and cozy (beanbags, organized shelves and books, carpet, big pillows, etc. . .)
2) Stack of books about one subject (e.g. = dogs) containing various levels of reading for model browsing.
Step 1: Should begin at the beginning of a new year. I believe the first step is to express to students the importance of reading, including reading on their own time. BOYS AND GIRLS, WE ALL KNOW THAT READING IS A NECCECITY IN SCHOOLS, WHICH MEANS THAT READING IS ALSO A NECCECITY IN LEARNING ABOUT NEW THINGS. READING BOOKS ON YOU OWN TIME VOLUNTARILY CAN BENEFIT YOU IN SO MANY WAYS. JUST BY READING BOOKS THAT YOU ENJOY IS A GOOD WAY TO DO BETTER ON TEST (Wilson 1992) THE MORE WORDS YOU READ ON YOUR OWN TIME WILL INCREASE THE SPEED IN WHICH YOU READ ASSIGNED READINGS THAT MAY NOT BE AS INTERESTING TO YOU. NOT ONLY WILL YOU BE ABLE TO COMPLETE ASSIGNED READING FASTER, YOUR CHANCE OF COMPREHENDING IT AND UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOUR TEACHER KNOWS IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO LEARN WILL COME MUCH EASIER TO YOU THE MORE YOU READ BOOKS THAT YOU CHOOSE TO READ ON YOUR OWN TIME. READING IS SO VALUABLE TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. NOT ONLY MUST WE BE ABLE TO READ IN ORDER TO GET JOBS WHEN WE ARE OLDER, BOOKS CAN TEACH US SO MUCH THAT TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS DON'T HAVE THE TIME TO. THERE ARE BOOKS OUT THERE WRITTEN ABOUT ANYTHING YOU CAN DREAM ABOUT. BOOKS ABOUT THINGS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THAT I MAY NOT BE REQUIRED TO TEACH YOU MYSELF. ANY SUBJECT YOU CAN THINK OF, THERE IS SURE TO BE ATLEAST ONE BOOK WRITTEN ABOUT IT. LETS DO A LITTLE EXPERIMENT.
Step 2: Ask students: THINK OF SOME THINGS THAT YOU ARE CURIOUS ABOUT OR INTERESTED IN THAT YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ANY OR MANY BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT. Choose a few of these and write them on the board. TODAY WE ARE GOING TO GO TO THE LIBRARY AND FIND AS MANY BOOKS AS WE CAN ABOUT THESE THINGS WE HAVE CHOSEN. WE WILL CHOOSE SEVERAL TO ADD TEMPORARILY TO OUR CLASSROOM LIBRARY.
Step 3: Explain good browsing habits. BEFORE WE RUN OFF TO THE LIBRARY AND START PULLING BOOKS OFF THE SHELVES WE NEED TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT SELECTING APPROPRIATE BOOKS. HERE I HAVE SEVERAL BOOKS THAT I FOUND AT THE LIBRARY ABOUT OR INCLUDING TEXT ABOUT DOGS. WE ALL KNOW OF SEVERAL BOOKS CONTAINING DOG STORIES OR INFORMATION. SINCE WE ARE IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WITH SEVERAL OTHER GRADES, THERE WILL BE BOOKS IN OUT SCHOOL LIBRARY THAT ARE TOO ADVANCED FOR US THAT ARE SUITABLE FOR SAY 5TH GRADERS AND THERE WILL ALSO BE BOOKS FOR 1ST GRADERS ABOUT DOGS TOO. WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO FIND THAT HAPPY MEDIUM FOR OUR 3RD GRADE CLASS. FOR EXAMPLE, LETS TAKE THIS CLIFFORD'S HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY BOOK. THIS BOOK IS FULL OF BIG PICTURES AND DOESN'T HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF WRITTEN TEXT. THIS MIGHT BE ALL RIGHT FOR 1ST OR 2ND GRADE BUT NOT FOR US. THE SAME THING WITH THIS BOOK, DOG'S DAY, IT IS TOO SIMPLE FOR US. NOW LETS LOOK AT THIS 101 DALMATIONS BOOK. THIS IS MORE UP OUR ALLY WITH NICE PICTURES BUT ALSO TEXT THAT SUITS OUR NEEDS. HOWEVER, LOOK AT THIS: ANOTHER 101 DALMATIONS BOOK THAT HAS BEEN SIMPLIFIED FOR YOUNGER READERS. WE WOULD NOT CHOOSE THIS ONE. NOR WOULD WE CHOOSE THIS DETAILED NON-FICTION BOOK ABOUT DOGS. INTERESTING ENOUGH, IT CONTAINS A BROADER VOCABULARY OF WORDS WE ARE NOT YET FAMILIAR WITH. THE BOOKS WE CHOOSE TO BRING BACK TO OUR CLASSROOM ARE GOING TO BE BOOKS THAT YOU CAN CHOOSE TO READ VOLUNTARILY ON YOU OWN SO WE SHOULD OPEN THE BOOKS AND BROWZE THROUGH THEM BEFORE CLEARING THEM FROM THE SHELVES. LETS BROWZE THIS ONE TOGETHER. SCOOBY-DOO! AND THE FAIRGROUND PHANTOM. THE COVER LOOKS GOOD BUT THAT IS NOT ENOUGH. WHEN WE OPEN THE BOOK AND FLIP THROUGH THE PAGES WE CAN GET A "TAST OF THE TEXT". LOOKS LIKE A SEMI-SHORT CHAPTER BOOK WITH AN EXCITING MYSTERY. LETS READ THE BRIEFING ON THE BACK AND SEE IF WE MIGHT ENJOY READING IT. Read the back out loud. DO YOU AGREE THAT WE SHOULD PUT THIS IN OUR KEEPERS STACK? ALL RIGHT! Go through a few more with the class. I AM PUTTING OUR KEEPER DOG BOOKS IN OUT CLASSROOM LIBRARY NOW AND MAYBE YOU WILL CHOOSE TO "DIGEST" THEM LATER DURING SOME OF YOUR FREE TIME. THESE OTHERS, WE WILL RETURN WHEN WE GO TO THE LIBRARY LATER.
Step 4: Form small groups of students (3-4 in a group) SINCE THERE ARE 18 OF YOU, I WOULD LIKE TO FORM 6 GROUPS OF 3'S (This could be a mini-math lesson) THESE GROUPS WILL CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. THE GROUP YOU ARE ASSIGNED TO WILL BE YOUR PEER-CONFERENCE GROUP. IN THESE GROUPS YOU WILL HAVE ABOUT 15-20 MINUTES TWICE A WEEK TO MEET AND DISCUSS WITH EACH OTHER THINGS YOU HAVE READ VOLUNTARILY. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ ANYTHING RECENTLY YOU MAY JUST SIT AND LISTEN TO WHOEVER HAS. YOU CAN ASK EACH OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BOOKS, SHOW ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE BOOK OR ART WORK YOU HAVE DONE YOURSELF RELATING TO THE BOOK. YOU CAN TELL FUNNY, SAD, OR SCARY PARTS FROM YOUR READINGS. YOU CAN BASICALLY TALK ABOUT OR SHARE ANYTHING WITH EACH OTHER RELATING TO BOOKS YOU HAVE RECENTLY READ. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO BRING YOUR BOOK TO THE DISSCUSSION GROUP. I WILL ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUGGEST BOOKS TO EACH OTHER THAT YOU THINK YOUR PEERS WOULD ENJOY. THE BOOKS YOU CHOOSE TO READ DO NOT HAVE TO BE FROM OUR CLASSROOM LIBRARY SELECTION. THESE BOOKS ARE HERE FOR YOU TO READ, YES, BUT IF YOU WOULD RATHER BRING BOOKS FROM HOME, THAT IS FINE TOO. I DON'T MIND IF A BOOK YOU CHOOSE TO DISCUSS IS ONE YOU HAVE REREAD EVEN SEVERAL TIMES. I WANT YOU TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELING ABOUT BOOKS YOU ARE READING. IF YOU BEGIN TO READ A BOOK AND DECIDE HALFWAY THROUGH THAT YOU DON'T LIKE IT, BRING IT UP DURING YOUR DISCUSSION TIME AND TELL YOUR PEERS WHY YOU WOULD NOT SUGGEST IT TO THEM. PERHAPS THROUGH THESE PEER CONFERENCE GROUPS, WE CAN DEVELP IDEAS ON GROUP PROJECTS AS WELL. OUR POSSIBILITIES ARE UNLIMITED. I HOPE YOU EACH EMBRACE THIS OPPORTIUNITY FOR A NEW WAY OF LEARNING AND SHARING. MY JOB WILL BE TO HELP YOU CHOOSE APPROPRIATE BOOK'S FROM THE LIBRARY, SUGGEST BOOKS TO YOU THAT I THINK YOU MIGHT ENJOY, ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE AND TO SIT IN BRIEFLY EVERYNOW AND THEN DURING YOUR CONFERENCES WITH EACH OTHER. This will be my way of assessment. I will be walking around, stopping, and listening for each person sharing details and summarizations with their peers.
Wilson, P. (1992). Among nonreaders: Voluntary reading, reading achievement, and the development of reading habits.
J. Lloyd Eldredge (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Pg 134
Classroom library books should be chosen and changed about once a month. You might consider holding on to some of the favorites for a little longer to allow interested students a chance to read them. You might also invite students to bring books from home to share if they wish with similar subject matter as chosen books from the library.
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