Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thoughts on Writing about Reading

I love to model and teach students different strategies to write about their reading - it is one of my passions! I am a visual learner so I know how important it is to have charts in our classrooms that show our thinking and learning.  I also know it is important to explicitly teach students various ways they can keep track of and deepen their thinking in their reader's notebooks as they read. 

Each day, during read aloud, I model different ways to jot down our thinking on the chart as students jot down their own thinking in their reader's notebooks.  As they write in their notebooks, they can use one of the many strategies I have modeled on our charts or create their own strategy to use, which many do! I also have my own reader's notebook that I personalized and use to keep track of my thinking about the books I read.  My notebook is set up just like the students' notebooks with three sections: read aloud, independent reading, strategies/reflections. To read more about my thinking about reader's notebooks and how we use them in my classroom, click here to read one of my previous posts about writing about reading. To read more about charts I create during read aloud, click here.  
I always make sure to honor students' work and strategies they use in their notebooks so we have a bulletin board dedicated for showcasing strategies we are using in our notebooks.  Students can hang up examples of their work and write their name and the strategy they used on an index card.  I also make time during morning meeting some days for students to share strategies they use with their classmates. This shows students that we can all learn from one another.

I encourage students to make their reader's notebooks "their own" and choose which ways they want to keep track of, organize, and deepen their thinking as readers.  By modeling many strategies for students and encouraging them to create their own ways to write about their reading, it sparks excitement for using the reader's notebook as a real tool!  I want students to understand the purpose for writing in their notebooks and not see it as just something they "have" to do.  By giving students a choice on how to use their notebooks and time to share their work with class, they want to explore new ways to write about their reading.

This week, a couple students started using colored pencils to color code sections and categories of thinking - that sparked an interest in others to begin color-coding and sketching.  I loved to watch them share strategies with one another and get excited to try them out!  Stay tuned for more photos from their reader's notebooks this week.

Please share ways you model writing about reading for your students and how your students use and share their reader's notebooks.

Happy Writing about Reading! :)

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