Saturday, April 6, 2013

Reading Clubs in the Elementary Classroom

Spring is the best time of year to start reading clubs during our reading workshop time.  By now, our students understand how to pick just right books, how to monitor their comprehension, how to analyze text, and it's time to talk about books!

This style is very different from traditional literature circles.  While I love literature circles and see many benefits of them, this style offers much more student choice and authentic discussion. 

To begin, you need three things...
1.  A classroom commuity of readers
2.  Book sets
3.  Materials to use in book discussions like spinners, dice, and even the silly beach balls

The next part is simple!  Follow these guidelines.
1. The group leader must get the book approved by the teacher first.
A student acts as a group leader by asking to start a book club.  He or she selects a book set that offers multiple copies and that is of high interest.  It's easy to approve, just make sure it is a just right book for that reader.  I find that most kids know what is in their realm of reading and try not to choose books that are too hard. 

2.  The group sign-up sheet must be posted on the reading workshop board for three days and must be open to any students.
The group leader creates a sign up sheet using notebook paper.  It should include the title and the number of participants.  The number of participants should be the same as the number of books available.  Easy-peesy.

3.  The group must hold their first meeting with the teacher.
During this meeting, it is important to sit down with the whole group to establish expectations.  Since this is supposed to be student driven, the kids should come up with them as much as possible.  They usually come up with things that are far beyond anything I would come up with!  They might decide on which chapters to read and when, write this down on a calendar (we just use our class calendar so it's easy to keep track of) and when the group will meet to discuss this book.  They also usually decide which days they can buddy read and which days they read alone.  I have even had kids make worksheets about the book for their group! 

4. If buddy reading, the group must stay focused and on-task.  This should happen after group members have completed their rotation.
Book clubs do not take place of our reading workshop approach, they enhance it it and provide some excitement to reading in the spring.  Not to mention, we can get kids to practice fluency skills by quietly buddy reading...they don't even realize it!

5. During group time, the leader can facilitate the discussion using book club materials.  
Things like spinners, dice, question cards, even literature circle job cards are all easy ways to get kids talking about books in a meaningful way.

6. The group must share a presentation about the book upon completion.
This is the ultimate in accountability and group work.  Kids might make a game to discuss comprehension, a poster about the book...any fun reading project to demonstrate comprehension.   

If you are interested in starting book clubs in your classroom this spring, download the free poster blow.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

What other ideas do you have to keep reading fresh during these high energy months after spring break?

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