In order to grow as readers throughout the year, students need ample amount of focused time reading. They can't do that with shared expectation and clear procedures about how to be part of a classrooom culture that supports reading.
First, I get the students' attention using a signal. I ask the students to "give me five". That means that I hold up a hand and expect them to do it with me as they stop what the are doing in the moment and look at me and give me their attention by the time I count down to one.
Once I have their attention I tell them that we are getting ready for our first reading lesson together. I tell them that reading is a very important part of our lives so we are going to be doing a lot of it in class this year. I tell them that we have a special meeting place to work together on reading and I want to show them where it is. I point it out or move to it.
I then explain that there are many people in the classroom and we need to be aware of each other as we move through the classroom so that we can be safe. I then describe how I want them to come to the meeting place. In my classroom, I dismiss groups two at a time and ask them to sit on the carpet. Later in the year, I will ask students to sit next to their partners on the carpet. Depending on the group of kids, I may or may not have assigned seats. Then I ask them if they are ready to try it.
This is the time I've given for students to practice walking from their seats to the meeting space, getting quiet and focused on me.
I get the class' attention and then invite groups of students to the carpet, reminding them to walk calmly and safely to the carpet after pushing in their chairs. I direct them to where on the carpet I want them to sit. I praise them for what they did well and then invite the next groups.
When all students are on the carpet, I ask for their attention. They reflect on how it went and they identify areas that could be improved. Then they return to their desks and try it again with the recommendations.
We try again. Again, I praise students or groups on what they did well, especially if they improved in the areas the class has mentioned after the first time. Again, after getting their attention once they sat down on the carpet, I ask them for feedback.
We try it once again.
This process is one of reflection and learning. They are also learning to prepare for future opportunities to participate in learning and reading.
At this point, they are sitting on the carpet, quietly listening to me. Using a large paper for notes, I write down reasons why its important while I list them on the poster provided by the students.
After creating a list, I explain that I will teach them strategies and give them opportunities to practice them. Then I ask them to tell me what they can do for themselves and each other.
I list the ideas they present and offer some if they miss any important ones, such as being quiet during reading time, always being prepared with something to read before reading time, reading at home, thinking while they are reading, sharing what they are reading with an adult or friend.
I tell them that they will have an opportunity to read independently today by starting with a small amount of time and then building up over the week.
Then they lead them through a procedure that gets them to their desk quickly and quietly. I dismiss groups from the carpet and praise them as they leave the carpet quietly and stay on task.
Once everyone is seated, I usually use this time to check in with groups or individual students about their reading. I try to get to each group (five - six groups of four students each) throughout the first week.
I expect students to quietly read, without disturbing each other or asking to leave the room. If I see students getting off task, I identify a student that is on task and praise them for their behavior. For example, if I see students talking with a neighbor, I will find a student who is not talking and then say, "Kate is really supporting her neighbors by reading quietly and not talking". If the off task students do not change their behavior, I will come to them quietly and remind them of the class list and ask them to make a better decision about their time and to not talk or disturb their neighbor.
I give them a two minute warning when independent time is almost up.
When they are finished reading. I ask them to put their materials away and give me their attention. I then ask them to reflect on thier ability to read independently. I leave the list of ideas up so that students can use them to support what they are saying. I ask them if there is anything that we can continue to work on and add it to the list or put a star next to it if it is already on the list.
I let them know that we are done for now and will practice these skills every time we read in class.