Literacy Life

Reading, Writing and the pursuit of thinner thighs

Reading Response Notebooks? Yes, we have them!

on August 23, 2013

It is well into our second week of school and reading class is going strong. My kids ROCK when it comes to reading. Who would think 6th grade reading would be such a “cool” subject, but my kids do.

I decided to write about my reading response notebooks because I am very happy with the layout. It’s working for us and I think it could work for some of you. I posted about my thinking behind them last spring, but now I want to show student examples and a couple of additions.

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The beginning of our notebook contains a basic outline in the form of a flip book for each component of the notebook. As students create their flip book, it’s a good opportunity for you to talk through what their notebooks are going to be. This year I decided to give each student a typed summary of what each component will do in their notebook.

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The first page begins their logs. I can’t tell you how much I dislike reading logs (enter soapbox) that require students to write minutes or pages or something every time they read. When you read do you go right down each page and how much time you read? I doubt it. So why do we require students to do this? Oh I know the reasons teachers say they do, but do those reasons really back up the act? We have to get students to wrap their attitudes around reading in a way that will cause them to be lifelong readers. Not to be students who read. I beg of you to analyze your reading logs. Ask yourself why do you have a reading log. What is it’s purpose? If you’re purpose is to set students and parents up for they’re first fake reading assignment, then by all means keep doing it. However if you want to build readers who read for real. STOP LOGGING MINUTES READ (stepping off soapbox)

Ok so “How do you have your students log their reading” you ask…I will tell you. I just want to know what books they’re reading and how long it took them. Our logs take quite a bit of time to set up, but once set up…it’s easy peasy! All my students keep track of is a start date and end date, book/author, genre and rating. It requires very little time and effort from students but gives me a wealth of knowledge. That monthly information gives me everything I need to know for reading conferences. I mean really, like I’m going to sit down and add up pages and minutes? I don’t think so!

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After our monthly reading log, is our mini lesson section. My students have begun to realize I like order. I like things organized. I like things that match. My reasoning to them? It takes less time for me to grade so I can get more reading accomplished. Honestly, I think that’s the only reason I need. You know that H. Wong book “The First Days of School” that says you must go slow in the beginning and make things right so you can go faster later? I think that is true with setting up notebooks. We go slow, get it right and then we’ll go faster later.

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I love our notebooks. I value my students’ thinking and I feel this is the best way for them to share it with me. The last tab in our notebook is “independent thinking”. This section provides space for all of the writing about reading.

I hope this walk through our notebooks has provided you a little bit of help for setting up your notebook.

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