Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Workshop Wednesday--All Aboard for a Few Reading Tips!

Hope you had a great 4th of July this past weekend!!! 
It's Shannon here from Bryant's Brain Train, and we celebrated in some of my favorite ways...grilling with family, sparklers out on the deck, and firework-watching with our Savannah cousins! I feel so blessed to live here in the USA, and the 4th is a fantastic way to celebrate the blessings and freedoms that we enjoy!!!
I learned when working on my Reading Endorsement that the average 6th grader reads less than 3 minutes a day. This was staggering to me! Now, as a teacher, I try to take every opportunity to encourage my students to read more and to love reading!  It's time for another installment of Workshop Wednesday, so I wanted to share a few of my favorite reading tips with you...
In my various classrooms over the years I have had a number of reading areas. Whether on couches, in chairs, or with pillows, I encourage my students to "settle in with a good book" and make the most of their daily reading opportunities. 

Look who I caught reading in my chapter book library...this area is known as the "Chugga Chugga Chapter Book" area of the room. You can see that I have my book tubs organized by genres on this bookshelf.
Snapped another sweet pic of a student reading here in one of my classroom "Book Nooks"-small areas scattered around the room where students can stop and read when an opportunity arises. This book is located beside our "Clipboard Caboose."  (I have a train theme in my classroom which will explain some of the area names you see here.)
I love to snuggle up with a good book myself, and I love giving students the opportunity to do the same.  This little one has grabbed a pillow from my pillow bucket for his reading time. This is a snapshot of where we keep our pillows in the "Pullman Car Pillows" section of our classroom.

One of my favorite additions to our DEAR time ("Drop Everything and Read") each day are our "Reading with a Purpose" bookmarks. These bookmarks with reading prompts, comprehension questions, sentence starters, etc. provide quick and easy ways for me to monitor student comprehension or understanding of our mini-lesson concepts. I keep these bookmarks in a labeled can in the front of my room as shown here. I simply copy a set for the week, cut them apart, and place them inside. 

Connecting reading to writing is such an important strategy for students who are both learning to read and reading to learn!
Either during reading or at the conclusion of reading time, each student is asked to complete the question on the bookmark for the week. For example, this student is writing about how the setting of the book he is reading reminds him of the setting of another book. This followed our mini-lesson on the elements of story, with setting being one of these elements.
He wrote, "The setting of this story reminds me of the setting of Hatchet. This book is about trees in a forest. Hatchet is about a boy who crashes in a plane and lands in the woods."
Making reading more enjoyable and making reading more meaningful are just some of the techniques I use to help my students grow in their love for reading. I would love to hear about some of the strategies you use in your own classroom. Feel free to share in the comments section below. 

Interested in finding out more about the Reading with a Purpose bookmarks I mentioned here? Pop on over to my Bryant's Brain Train blog to read even more about these classroom resources.

All the Best,