Right Question, Right Place, Right Time

I sat down today to do reading conferences, unsure who I was going to start with on my list.  I love it, though, when a kid comes at just the right time with just the right question to help me make my decision!

So enter my friend, D.  She came over to me and asked a simple question: “Do you have any good books?”

I LOVE it when a kiddo asks me this question, because it means I can do something to help get the right book in their hands.  So we sat together and started talking about recipes.

Yep, you read it right–recipes.  We started with background, whether or not she had ever cooked before.  She told me about how she had just made brownies, and so we discussed how a recipe helps you make sure you end up with the product you wanted–a recipe for brownies helps you end up with brownies if you follow the steps.

So D and I started writing her “Recipe For a Good Book.”  The idea behind this is that you can use things that you already know you like as a foundation for finding new things you’ll also like.   The end product is the “good book,” and the recipe is how to get there.  Just like how brownie mix + eggs + oil = brownies.

We talked about some of her favorite books, and she told me she really enjoyed Fudge.  So we started her recipe with Fudge and Judy Blume.  When I asked her what she liked about it, she said she liked it because is was funny because of the kids.  So we added funny and kids as main characters  to our recipe.  I got her thinking about some other favorites and she mentioned Ramona.  We talked about how there were some similarities between Ramona books and Fudge books, and so it makes sense that she’d love both!  Next we added Ramona, Beverly Cleary and family stories to our recipe.  After some more thinking and reflecting, we ended up with a list that looked like this (after she made it into a bookmark):

Once we had the recipe, we tried it out together.  We have a basket in our classroom that’s for GOOD BOOKS (some of my favorites that I’ve put together in a collection), so I figured it was a good place to start.  Immediately we found three books that we thought would fit her recipe really well:

The Zebra Wall by Kevin Henkes, Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary and Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

By going down her list of ingredients for a good book, we realized that all of these were good options for my friend!  They had many things that she was looking for, and they were a good fit for her reading level.  Success!

The original idea for this came out of a conference I had with a student almost 3 years ago, and it has been appropriate for so many more readers since then.  I love getting the right book into the hands of a kid reader, and better yet, she has a plan for when she goes book shopping next time.  It’s a win-win. 🙂

11 thoughts on “Right Question, Right Place, Right Time

  1. Mrs. Bearden~ Can you please have a reading conference with me? I seriously need to think this thoughtfully about the books I am choosing to read for pleasure. I am going to make my own list and see how it turns out.

  2. I think we should not call them family meeting’s just yet , Mabye we should get to know eachother better. Because a familly knows almost every thing about eachother.

    Lauren Eiler

  3. Mabye at the end of the day we could do our compliements,then say somthing about us?
    The girl metting was ok… but i did not get to learn much about the other girls.

    -Lauren Eiler

  4. That sounds really cool! To bad I am Not going to at school for the next couple of days):
    I am also going to the docter today I wonder what they will say.

  5. It might work for me! It might work for my sister, too. She somtimes has trouble picking just the right book. As well as me.


    • Yeah–it’s probably more the schedule thing. I have a 90 minute reading block, which includes my mini-lesson and then an hour of IDR (independent reading) time that I can use as needed. Often it is to sit and have reading conferences. There are so many benefits to conferences (which I am sure you know, and I could probably write a whole blog entry about someday!), but two are that I can really address specific needs and I get to know my students better in the process. I don’t know how it would work for you in your short amount of time, with so many different students, but it could work for math as well as reading or writing. You should try it! I’d love to help you work it all out. 🙂

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