Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Book Whisperer Chapter 3

Is this not a great book?  I love the author's style of writing!   
I find myself shaking my head as I read the author's words and thinking....oh true! 

Chapter Three:  There's a Time and a Place

"Time for Reading is Time Well Spent"
Agreed, although easier to do in the upper grades, I still think it's necessary to give kiddos in the younger grades time to read on their own.  I may have had the ability to tell my seventh graders to pull out a book and get reading, but it's harder to do the same with my their little hearts to death...but if you can't read the words, you've gotta learn their are other ways to read a book.  

I use pieces of the Daily 5 with my first graders to help with the independent reading aspect of our day.  I feel as strongly as our author about kids reading to themselves!  During the first week of school, we put together an anchor chart that talks about the 3 ways to read a book...
Read the Words
Read the Pictures
Retell the Story
We talk about each way to read a book and then spend some time that first week modeling the different ways we thought of that you can read a book.  I create the chart with the kids using their words as much as possible and then pair it down to the short spurt sentences above .... 
then this anchor chart is posted onto the wall near the library corner of my room.

The two posters below were shared on the boards...I don't put them up in the class, however, I do use them to remind myself what I want to discuss with the kids.  The key is to get the kids to say it so we can make our own anchor charts...makes 'em feel like they're creating the anchor charts for the room :)   You can check out the posts HERE.

"No matter how long students spend engaged in direct reading instruction, without time to apply what they learn in the context of real reading events, students will never build capacity as readers.  Without spending increasingly longer periods of time reading,  they won't build endurance as readers, either.  Students need time to read and time to be readers."

I have reading boxes for each child in my room.  It's their box of books that they read from during our independent reading time.  At the beginning of the year, I add the books....picture books as well as books with Clifford or Little Critter....when we talk about independent reading time, we talk about building stamina for reading by ourselves...I relate it to building up our muscles when we workout with weights.  We'll start with just around 3 minutes that very first week and gradually increase until we get up to about 15-20 minutes.  It's called our "Reading Box Time"...and if you miss it one day, they let you know!  I usually try to schedule it right after lunch (as we don't get to go outside for recess then and they need something to help them get back into the groove)...Target usually starts putting out their school stuff right about now and they have these fantastic boxes that are perfect for reading boxes...
Really Good Stuff also carries them...just a little more pricey...

"Creating a Place for Reading"

Our author is not about having a specific place for reading...
"I do not care where or how my students read in my room, only that they are reading.  They may lie on the floor, take their shoes off, or remain at their desks.  Why should it matter?" kinda does from the firstie aspect of it...especially the shoe thingy...I personally tell my kiddos 'if you can get them back on by yourself, you can take them off'...and that's generally said after coming in from the playground and hearing complaints of having rocks in shoes :)

That being said, I do have a reading corner, but I do allow them to read anywhere...we talk about this during the first week of school...however, I find I must be explicit about where they can and cannot read in the room...for instance up under the table where the computer sits on top and the shelf is on the bottom is just not the best place in the world...also under the window where you can sit on your knees and check out what the kids outside are doing is also not going to cut it...
We spend time having them show me where they think is a good place to take their reading box and spread out to read.  I have a couple of throw rugs that I got at the Dollar Spot at Target that some of them choose to use... but most just sit on the floor.  One year I had pillows...however it became a huge time consumer to get the pillows out and argue over who had which one first.  This year I may let them bring in towels to take to their spot...only because the floor really is quite nasty!  Still thinking on this one.  At any rate, I totally agree with our author's thoughts on places to read:

"A classroom atmosphere that promotes reading does not come from the furniture and its placement as much as it comes from the teacher's expectation that students will read."

Wow...this has been one of my longest posts...sorry about that...but I'm really passionate about creating readers at a young age!  I believe that if they start off early loving reading, then they'll keep it up throughout their long lives!  I may not be successful with every one of my frogglets, but I do manage to hook quite a few before the end of the year :)

....time of my first Linksy party...
What are your thoughts?  Got any special things you do to help your students with the independent reading?  Do you do the Daily Five? ....spend time with independent reading? ....have special places the kids can read?  Link up and share your ideas with us!


  1. I use some parts of Daily 5 with my students. I really enjoy teaching them about partner reading. Here is a video of how I do partner reading with my 5th grade students:


  2. This book is on my list now! I also teach 1st and agree that you have to set boundaries, especially at the beginning of the year. I do the same kind of thing, using the 3 ways to read. We model, model, model at the beginning. My kiddos work up to 10 minutes and then the reward is choosing where you want to sit (except under the tables or in the computer chairs). Once we make it to 20, they can sit with a friend and read together. I use taking off shoes, sitting in chairs with wheels, under tables, etc. For rewards for AR. We use book bags (2 gallon ziploc bags) that are stored in their desks because I don't have enough space to store 30 book boxes.

  3. Heidi,

    I am going to write my chapter three post tonight and then send people over here for your linky party rather than have 2 going!! Great post!
    Thinking of Teaching

  4. I must admit, I think I have the daily 5 book in my classroom. And if I do not I once had it in my hand and did not read it or retain it?? But all these posts I see in blogs talking about it makes me think I need to re-look at it.

    I do not do independent reading like I feel I should. I always feel like time is an issue. I also had a really low group last year. After reading starting this book club I have decided I need to MAKE time. I do feel independent reading is important and just needed the refocus.

    Fantastic 1st Grade

  5. Reading takes practice. Children will read books over and over if they have ones they love and ones they can read.
    I tried to link up, but I'm not sure if it worked. Here's a related post.

  6. Thanks for hosting the book chat:)
    I'm a new follower!

    4th Grade Frolics

  7. Greatpost!
    In the survey I do at the end of the year, the past 3 years our Independent reading time has always scored the highest. The children love it. I want to create a love of reading in children and how can they unless they read.

  8. Hi Heidi!

    I LOVE your blog, you are amazing! I did Daily 5 last year with my kindergarteners. I posted lots of stuff on my blog if you are interested. I will upload pictures and a video tour later this week. Can't wait to try some of your ideas next year!