Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Best Practices in Reading...5 new ideas to implement next year.

After reading chapter 2 on Best Practices in Reading, I'm excited to implement five new ideas into my teaching.

1. Comprehension
Teachers need to model and allow opportunities for students to practice comprehension skills that all successful readers use including visualizing, connecting, questioning, inferring, evaluating, analyzing, recalling and monitoring.  This last year has been my first year at introducing and modeling some of these concepts with my students.  I’d like to spend more time further developing all of these concepts as well as providing time for students to share and construct meaning from text. 

2. Choice in books & read alouds
Research shows that students are more engaged and motivated to read when they have choice in the books they are reading.  I read this article earlier in the school year and I have already made some changes to my take home book program to allow student choice as well as during their “read to self” time.  My goal for next year is to allow students to pick their own books during guided reading time.  I’d also like to incorporate choice into the read alouds that we use throughout the year.  It’s just so hard to find time to fit more in with our curriculum!  However mid-way through the year I begin reading aloud from chapter books.  I’d like to start this much earlier and I think this would be the perfect opportunity to get student choosing the books.
It’s also important that the books are of interest to students.  I’m working hard at getting new books into my library that are interesting to my young readers.  Purchasing more books has been my number one priority as research suggests that students with a larger classroom library are more successful.

3. Shared book experiences
Students need time to share and talk about their reading.  I’d love to include more book clubs, sharing time and author presentations.  Extending our guided reading time may also provide more of an opportunity for me to engage children in discussion and for me to monitor their understanding.  I’d also like students to give mine book talks or have time to meet in small groups to share about their library books.  It will encourage that love for reading and get kids excited about checking out other friends’ books during library time.

4. Writing
Writing is a strong indicator of successful readers.  “Writing powerfully promotes ability in reading,” says Zemelman, Daniels & Hyde (2005, p. 49)  I want to include a daily writers workshop into my schedule to practice and provide help and support.  You can learn so much about a child’s ability by looking at their writing.  I’d love to add this information in my pensive binder and have time to meet with students to goal set, share strategies and encourage new ways of writing.

5. Modeling a love for reading
It is critical that the teacher is modeling a love for reading and showing how reading is a natural part of their life.  I love to read but this article has me asking how much of that do I emulate to my students.  I typically gear up during February to share my favorite books for I Love to Read month but I need to share my passion for reading throughout every month.  I really want to bring back my take home books & buddy books.  Typically we’ll read a book and then I’ll send home the book, a stuffed animal/mascot that matches the book, a journal and sometimes an additional activity.  This year didn’t leave much room for other read alouds but I need to make this a priority.  Students were always eager to get the book and I included a sharing time to the class on the day they returned the book. 


  1. Hi Rebecca!

    I really enjoyed reading your 5 new ideas to implement next year in reading/writing. You listed so many get ideas that you are inspiring me to do some of the same in my classroom. By reading your post I can tell you do Daily 5 with your students, how do you like that? I taught 1st grade for 5 years and used Daily 5 and now that I am in Kindergarten this year I again am trying to use the Daily 5 model. Somethings are just a little harder to do with little Kinders I am noticing. You mentioned sharing chapter books with your class. Which chapter books do you enjoy reading with your class? I have been reading Magic Tree House books this year and my students love them, but I am also looking for other great read alouds to share. Writing is the big thing I think I want to focus on for next year and my final AR for the program. I am excited to start researching this summer and becoming an even better teacher/learner in the process!

    Good luck with everything as you continue your journey! I look forward to popping into your blog to see what you are up to! :)

    1. Thanks for your response Kalin. I've been researching reading for my first ROL and needed a better way to do guided reading with my students. I only started Daily 5 in March so I am no expert. I've tweaked it to work in my room because we had a later start. I only do read to self, word work and listen to read. I find the listen to read center to be the most difficult to manage. It's hard for them to start and stop stories and switch from CD's and cassettes. I love the new Storia app and am thinking about somehow using that for my listen to self time??? I think everything looks different in Kindergarten and we just need to give ourselves permission to adapt and change it to fit our kids. I have a hard time with that because I want it to be perfect but mostly I want to be developmentally appropriate. I'm still finding my way!
      As for read alouds, I try to read a little bit of everything to spark a variety of interests. I always start with Magic Tree house since they tend to be everyone's favorite! I also read from the Boxcar, Cam Jansen, & Ralph S. Mouse collections. Tim Trelease has a great read aloud book with lots of suggestions!

  2. You made some good reflections on best practices of reading. You focused on some that didn't stand out to me. Good, I'm glad to see I am hitting more heavily on some strategies for the struggling learners that classroom teachers move more quickly through. Due to time constraints of 20 minute groups, I don't have much time to spend on writing and book read alouds. I count on the classroom teacher to spend solid quality time in those areas so I can spend time on phonics, phonemic awareness, sight words, fluency, comprehension. I love the idea of doing book sharing where people come in and share favorite books with the kids. I would enjoy moving from room to room sharing books and authors. If only there was more time for all of us to spend more time with our students exploring areas that we love.

    1. Hi Beth,
      I try to read as much as I can throughout the day and it tends to be a favorite time in my classroom. I had read this article earlier in the year and already started implementing ideas so I had to delve a little deeper to pick five new things to try!

  3. Rebecca,

    You writing that you would like to allow your kids to choose their books during guided reading intrigued me. I am curious how would you go about doing that? Would you offer choices? And how would you get 4-5 kids to agree on a book? I also like what you said about including more book groups for your kids. I did that this year with my kids and it was really fun! One thing to think about is giving them time when they finish to discuss what they read – I’ve thought about having them “sell” their book to the rest of us. It might be a fun way to get kids excited about reading! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Model your reading...yes! This is something that we try to do at home with our young kids. It's easy to say, yet tough to do with all the hustle and bustle.