Just as we were beginning to develop our personal narratives, I began to suspect that many of my kids were dropping the ball on their independent reading. At the beginning of the year, I gave them a lot of class time to establish their reading habits, and build their stamina. But, I did warn them that as the school year progressed, there would be less and less time given in class for them to read--that it was going to become homework.
This Guiding Question addresses that suspicion.
After the probable wake-up call that the Guiding Question presented, most of my kids needed time to work. Though I don't often give them enormous chunks of time to read, the fact that they'd been begging for it broke my Book Nerd heart. As students read, I checked in with their progress and made notes about the number of books they'd read, what genres were being read, and to make sure that they were filling out their book records.
As a teacher, though, I really need to honor their time to want to read. This is difficult balance:
Finding that a lot of kids were behind with their goal of reading, for their reflection, I had students write a "game plan" for how they would catch up to their goals. Not only did they write it down in their Writer's Notebooks, but on the way out of the classroom door, they had to tell me how and what they were going to read over the weekend. Some said something like, "I'm going to read on the way to my volleyball game," or "I'm going to read 30 minutes before bed each night." I think that having to look me in the eye and state their intention was powerful--it may have clogged my classroom doorway for a minute or two, but it was powerful!