Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Power of Read Aloud Part 2

Reader's Notebook Bulletin Boards and Foam Boards:
I give students the ownership of deciding how they would like to organize and deepen their thinking about texts in their reader’s notebook.  Of course, I model various strategies to use throughout the year so students can choose from the ones I have modeled or create their own way of responding to texts.  I have a bulletin board in the classroom all year titled “Ways We are Using our Reader’s Notebooks” so students can not only share the strategies they are using with their classmates, but they can also learn from their classmates.  The students make the copies of charts and/or responses and post them on the bulletin board along with a card that has their name and the name of the strategy they used (students name the strategy themselves if we haven’t already decided on a name as a class). 

I also use foam boards (a strategy I learned from Ann Marie Corgill and Franki Sibberson years ago) to display student examples of how they are using their reader’s notebook and examples of charts/responses students can use as a model.  Last year, I had a group of students create a foam board displaying how they can create a “Quote Web” by choosing one important quote from the text to write in the center and then branch out from the quote with their thinking about it.  This was one strategy they shared with their classmates to show the importance of quotes and how they can deepen your thinking about the characters and the book as a whole. 

Celebrating and Sharing Reader's Notebooks through Gallery Walks:
Another way to honor students’ thinking in their reader’s notebooks and learn from one another is to have Reader’s Notebook Gallery Walks once a month.  For this learning celebration, students put their reader’s notebook on top of their table along with either a piece of paper labeled “Comments” or a stack of post-its for classmates to use to write comments.  Students can either mark certain pages in their notebook that they want their classmates to read or can flag an entire section such as the Read Aloud section.  Students walk around the classroom, sitting down to read their classmates’ notebooks and leaving positive comments about the strategies they are using.  After being able to have students view about 4 or 5 classmates’ notebooks, we gather as a whole class to share and honor the strategies they saw their classmates using.  This share honors students, encourages them to reflect, and helps them set goals for themselves for which strategies they can try using in their reader’s notebook. 

Happy Reading & Writing! :)


  1. Dear Melanie and Melanie,
    I enjoyed this post, I think that you have empowered your pupils and I am sure that they feel valued.

    I would like to share these ideas with my masters degree students (Learning Support Specialists).

    Thank you.

    1. Yes, please share these ideas with your students and let me know if you have any questions about the strategies or ideas. Also share our blog address with them too so they can continue to check our posts. Thank you!