Small Reading Ideas for the New Year

image from icanread

I keep stumbling across amazing reading ideas that I cannot wait to implement.  The only problem is that since I am pregnant I keep also forgetting these amazing reading ideas and no matter how many times I bookmark them, I still cannot keep them all straight.  SO why not make a list to help me and perhaps help others as a new school year gets ready to start?

  • Create a “Hot Books” bin in my library.  This idea came from Choice literacy  and I love it.  Last year The Maze Runner, The Lions of Little Rock and anything by Adam Gidwitz were the must reads of the room.  So why not acknowledge with its very own book bin?  I think I may have to get a red colored one just for this purpose.
  • Create a “New Books” bin.  I book talk all of the books we received and when you are addicted to books like I am, that means we get a lot of new books.  But once they have been booktalked they seem to disappear in the many bins of books.  SO this year I will have a bin specifically for the latest books to our library.  I just need to figure out where I then want to put it.  Thanks Choice literacy for this one too.
  • Doing a book meeting time.  I love this idea from Ann of having students grab a whole bin of books and a sheet of paper and then sit on the floor looking through all of those books writing down comments and starting their to read list.  I can see this being great at the beginning of the year especially, but also when reading slumps hit.  I think it is a must for students to have several books to choose from next so that there never is a book lag.
  • Continue book speed dating.  I love this idea from Colby Sharp of grabbing huge piles of some of my favorite books and then letting students browse through them.  I set a time limit of a few minutes so that we stay purposeful.  Messy and loud, sure, but totally worth it.
  • Sharing reviews on Mrs. Ripp Reads.  I started a book review blog for my old students and have kept it going over the summer, now I think it is only natural if the kids who want to also get to add their reviews to the site.  I cannot wait to see which books they want to review.
  • Figure out the “Just Right” book.  I despise the way the term “just right” has been manipulated into being all about levels.  Instead I want to lead discussions on what it means to find the just right books for ourselves.  Just right can mean perfect interest, length, subject, theme, or anything else that makes a child gravitate toward that book.  I want my students to be aware of their own book picking patterns so they can find more books to love.
  • Invite in Book Buddies.  This year I will be opening my doors to parents who want to come in and read with the kids and for the first time it will not just be those kids who needs someone to read with them but open to any child.  And where before we would book talk books, this year it will be all about sharing a great picture book or chapter book and developing a love of reading a book together.
  • Hype the picture books.  I have been spending a lot of money on getting great picture books into the classroom, the only problem has been wrestling them out of Thea’s hands to actually bring them in.  I think my students tend to forget how wonderful picture books truly are and so we will be carving out specific time every few days just to love a picture book and then share that love with each other.  This will also be great for our 1st grade buddies who will have a lot more books read to them.
  • Create space for students to share the book love.  My students last year loved showing off the covers of their books on a bulletin board but this year brings a new group of kids so I will be asking them how they would like to display their books read.  Perhaps in their lockers?  Perhaps on the wall?  Perhaps Biblionasium or our blog?  Wherever it ends up we need to find a place to show off how much we read.
  • Ask for donations.  I have never done a DonorsChoose project before but when I added up all of the money I spent on books last year I realized now was the time.  With our 4th child on the way and having my salary frozen, I need to stop spending so much out of my own pocket.  So I am asking for books for our library to replace the ones we have lost, to get kids hooked on the right book, and to just make sure that every 5th grader that flips through it finds something to love.  I am hoping someone will help us get more books.

Those are just some ideas bouncing in my sleepy head, I am sure there will be more to share soon.

12 thoughts on “Small Reading Ideas for the New Year

  1. I have enrolled my class in Letters for Kids. We get 2 letters each month from middle and young-adult authors. The cost is minimal and so worth it. Go here http://therumpus.net/letters_for_kids/ for more information. I use the letters as a springboard to booktalks, videos of author interviews, etc. Most of the authors encourage the students to write back!

    • Sorry only part of my comment went through! Think the Hot Books tub idea is a perfect one to house those books that everyone is excited about. Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful and helpful post!

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