Thanks, Kelly Gallagher, for the Book Club!
Year after year I have struggled with reluctant readers in my classroom. I try and try to support outside reading and despise the read a book take a test option. I want so badly to ignite a love of reading in each and every student. I think I finally figured it out.
My students this year participated in a weekly book club (held in class). They had to prepare for each meeting by doing the following:
- Reading the set number of pages – decided on by their own group on the first day.
- Annotating or take notes in some way in preparation for the weekly discussion.
- Writing down at least 4 discussion questions in their writer’s notebooks.
- Completing the weekly video recap- using the RECAP app – a great tool for formative assessment.
- Completing some sort of connection assignment (literary devices, vocabulary, context, artwork).
After the meeting they had to write a half page reflection about the discussions. I love using the Writer’s Notebook for all of these assignments.
Some groups were clearly more excited about reading than others – but they all did the reading. This was just one of four classes and they were all begging me to do the project again. They kept up with assignments, came prepared for discussions, and spoke passionately about their opinions. They annotated their reading and were ready with evidence when they had to explain themselves. Did some skip out on the work and only pretend – I am sure they did (I could probably tell you names) but I definitely had more meaningful reading than I have ever had before.
One of the hardest assignments for them was the artistic rendering – create something from nothing – inspired by the book. They could take any component of the story to find inspiration to create ANYTHING. They just did not know what to do with this kind of freedom. I said art and most of them heard pencil drawing.
But then, some of them were very original – from dressing in costume as one of the characters, to baking a fresh rhubarb pie!
We are getting ready to embark on another round of Book Club. I learned a lot from the last go ’round that I will implement. I will let you know how it goes, so check back!
And remember – smart people read!
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