Sunday, September 9, 2012

Just Right Books

I have been using Lucy Calkins' Guide to Reading Workshop. The lessons have been a great way to get my students excited about the new balanced literacy framework.  The students in my class have been taught using the Imagine It series since kindergarten. They participate in Accelerated Reader.  So previously in their reading lives, they have had strict choice guidelines as to which books they can read.  Our third grade literacy team has not determined beginning of the year reading levels yet, so we have been allowing our students to choose books that interest them. We have their DRA levels from last year, but levels usually decrease over the summer break.

I taught the lesson about choosing a just right book.  I created my anchor charts using the sample ideas in the book and a creative analogy about riding a bike that I found on Pinterest.

I think it is important to use the anchor charts in your lessons as speaking points, not just as posters that you read to the class. Think about all of the trainings you go to where the presenter just reads Power Point slides to you remember what it was about?  Or do you remember the presentations where you heard a story or did an action?  I took my time and talked through a scenario of riding a bike and the difficulties you have if you choose a course that is too hard or too easy. 
Then I shared two of my own books with my students.  They know I love to cook so I used cookbooks as an example of how I chose a just right book instead of a too hard book.

I modeled how I decided the Greek cookbook was too hard (I couldn't pronounce the names of the dishes, I didn't know what some of the ingredients were, there were no pictures to look at to see if my recipe turned out right). I used talking points from the anchor chart to explain why the Sandra Lee book was just right (I could read all of the words, it made me feel hungry when I read the recipes, the recipes sounded delicious, I was able to tell my sister about the recipes).

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