Friday, October 5, 2012

Reader Response Set Up: Coaching Our Own Reading Lives

Today I want to share snapshots of my reader response journals. This year, I set them up with sections for the first time and am loving the sections I used. I have to admit, I was super-scared to create sections--how do you know how many pages to leave for each--and what if the kids run out of space---arrrghhh. I just decided to GO FOR IT!!!
Last year in 4th grade, my students and I spent a large portion of our 1st 9 weeks talking about "Building a Reading Life."
Students' reading lives are solid, so for their 5th grade unit, I had to come up with a unit that would ask them to step it up a notch. I decided to teach them how to "Coach" their own reading lives. I used the reader's statement, "Readers take charge of our reading lives by realizing we can be our own coaches. Like a coach, we can predict the challenges a book might present us and use strategies to overcome them." Today I wanted to focus on how I set up my reader response notebooks, but if you want to hear more about my minilessons for "Coaching Your Own Reading Life," tune in to Monday's Minilesson Magic this week  and I will tell more.
Based on the theme of "Coaching Your Own Reading Life," I thought about the sections I wanted to have in my notebooks. I thought it was important to have a place that was about the reading life (especially for beginning of the year reflections), a place for information from minilesssons that can be used again and again--handouts, reader statements, etc, a place for students to practice what we are learning in the minilesson and responses to our read alouds, and a place for work they do with their own book. I really wanted to keep the sports/coaching theme going, so I decided to break the reader's response into the following sections:  
To make the sections cutesy (and to mark them), I had a parent make circles, stars, and hearts out of scrapbook paper. I typed up the titles for each section and had students glue them on the pages listed above. Numbering the notebook was quite an ordeal. We did it in chunks of 20 and I had students partner up to check each other's numbering to catch each other's mistakes. After a partner had checked the 20, they could move on to numbering the next 20. Another thing I learned is that marble notebooks aren't standardized. I thought they all would have 100 sheets, but apparently the more decorative notebooks short on notebook pages :( I will be specifying this on next year's supply list now that I know!
I got many of my ideas for what to have students do in the "Reading Life" section from Julie Ballew's Website. Sadly, we didn't get to many of these great ideas, but we did complete the "I read because..." brainstorm.
We also reflected with a list of "Reading is the Best for Me When..." characteristics.
I would have spent the time to do more of the activities if  I felt my students were still "building" their reading life (which really means buying into how great reading is and making sure that we are committed to it in our lives), but since I had already spent a quarter the year before building the reading life, they already loved to read and were ready for more--and I was surely ready to get into teaching them how to be their own coach.  Saving space at the beginning of the notebook is also great for reflecting at the end of our units. For example, when we finish our historical fiction unit, I can have the students reflect on what they learned about reading historical fiction or I could make it more creative and have them make a list of tips for another student who is about to read historical fiction, etc.
I hope you enjoyed a look at my reader response notebooks. Hopefully I will get to let you peak inside more during Monday's Minilesson Magic! Do you use reader response notebooks? Do you set up your notebooks with different sections?

PS-I am SUPER excited to see that I have 100 followers on my blog! I just broke that 100 mark last night. Thank you so much for following and I hope you are able to pick up ideas. Feel free to comment on my blog at anytime. You can even tell us about posts you have written on the same topic. I would love to hear from you!

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