In this lesson, I, with the students, prepare for a great year of reading and reading growth. In order to do that we need to reflect on our experiences in the past. I tell them that today, they are going to be remembering times that were good and times that were not so good in their past that has to do with reading. I give them an example from my life:
- Good: I found a book I really enjoyed. I was so excited to read it and learn what happens at the end that I read an entire book of 400 pages overnight.
- Bad: I was forced to read a book I did not like in high school. Although I read it to complete the assignments, I was dissapointed and therefore not as engaged with the book every time I read it.
I ask them to think about times they enjoyed reading and let them know that their memories can go as far back as the first words they remember reading or their first books all the way up until today's reading.
This task is an easy but successful way to engage students in the work that they are going to do in this lesson.
They just finished thinking about good and bad moments. Some students might be having difficulty and need more time to think. By asking them to write out their thoughts, they have more time to remember and an opportunity to fully express what made those memories important. I ask them to turn to a new page, title and date it.
I ask them to write two short paragraphs. One about a good time they had reading and one about a bad time. I ask them to describe the event and explain why it was important or what it says about reading for them. I give them example:
- One of the best times I had reading was when I discovered, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley, and read it in one night. This tells me that I would be really interested in historical fiction or books about people. This also tells me that when I find a book I really like, I have a lot of stamina and energy to read the book.
I then give them time to write their examples while I walk around and check in on students.
Once students are finished writing about their experience, I ask them to share them with the person sitting next to them or a reading partner if I have that set up already. I ask them to identify the important lesson about reading that they learned from that experience. Not all students can make that leap to finding the point of the experience.
Once students are finished sharing, I explain that this sort of reflective exercise helps us identify ways that we can focus on reading so that everyone is enjoying becoming a better reader and are doing things that are helpful.
I then ask students to share with the class any lessons they learn that might help other students or our class prepare for making everyone's reading experiences, "good" experiences.
I collect the ideas on a poster or a document shown on the document camera.
I then tell students that we will leave these up as reminders for what each of us can do to make reading great this year.