Book by Book…

Yesterday we talked about the journeys that readers take.   Today we talked about how readers can make little goals along the way to help the goals in their journey seem more attainable.

We talked with our elbow-partners about goals that they’ve made, and when we shared out from our conversations, we realized that we had made goals that fit into 3 basic categories: goals for at school during RW (like reading 30 pages before the end), goals for at home at night (like reading 2 hrs before bedtime or “scheduling” it for after dinner or before bed), and goals that span the whole week (like finishing a certain number of books each week).  It was a great conversation that helped us all better envision how to have (and keep) a growth mindset.

Then I was ready to give them a goal of my own.  It is a year-long goal, and is definitely a pretty big one: to read at least 40 books, in a variety of different genres.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 8.47.27 PM(Remember how I read The Book Whisperer this summer?  This challenge and genre requirements came from there. 🙂 )

I put this slide up on the ActivBoard and waited for the reactions.  To my surprise (is it ok to say that?), no one freaked out.  No one cried, and no one seemed discouraged!  I was really expecting at least one person to say that this was an impossible challenge, deciding already that they were doomed to fail.  But beautifully, what happened instead were a variety of responses somewhere along a continuum of “only 40? I thought it would be more like 150!” to “on 40?  I know I’ll read more than that this year!”.   I loved it, too, when one sweet friend looked at me, slowing nodding and smiling, seemingly saying “I can do that, Mrs. Bearden! I don’t know how yet, but I know you’re going to help me.” 🙂  And YES, my friend, I will help you!

But then my favorite part happened.  My friend Brittany (remember her from that big pile of books yesterday?), who had been talking to Grace, looked at me and said, “Mrs. Bearden, you’re going to do this, too, right?  You’re going to read 40 books with us?”  I was a little surprised, because I was surprised that she asked.  But I was SO GLAD that she did.  It would have been one thing for me to say that I was going to join them–which I was planning on doing anyway–but it’s a completely different thing when it’s their idea.  Now it’s OUR challenge instead of just mine.  And we’re going to accomplish it together, book by book. 🙂

Everybody Loves Reading!

Or at least they will when I’m done with ’em! HA!

One of the most important goals of the beginning of 5th grade–or any grade–is to help kids get to the place where they love school.  Really love it.  This is the case with the beginning days of my Reader’s Workshop as well.  Unfortunately, I have students that come to me and can honestly say that they don’t read because they want to.  They read because they have to, or they don’t read at all.  Boo. 😦

So in addition to conversations about how our Reader’s Workshop will function (like we had as we filled in this chart the other day):

Kids worked in pairs first and then we discussed together our thoughts about what Reader's Workshop looks and sound like, and how that helps us as readers.

Kids worked in pairs first and then we discussed together our thoughts about what Reader’s Workshop looks and sound like, and how that helps us as readers.

we also have lessons that give kids chances to see themselves as readers, and to see what is possible for them–no matter where they are starting.

Today we started with a conversation about mindset (growth vs. fixed) and tied it to this quote:

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 8.54.45 PM

We talked about how every reader is on a journey, and those journeys look different for every person.  We talked about how having a growth mindset–believing that we are capable of achieving great things if we keep trying, changing and making mistakes–helps us on our journey.    Then I described one reader’s journey from short, picture books with few words to reading Harry Potter using this pile of books:


While the scenario was hypothetical (I know…sometimes stories I tell at school are made up.  Don’t sue me. 🙂 ), it is very much like what real readers do, and I wanted my readers to see that there are steps that they can plan to help them get from where they are to where they want to be (which in this case was the desire to read a Harry Potter book–a very real goal for many readers!).

After I told the story of how this reader traveled through their journey and after I piled these books high in Brittany’s arms (who so kindly volunteered to play the role of the reader in my story), I had everyone think about whether they saw themselves somewhere in this pile of books.  Maybe they were already on a similar journey to this one.  Or maybe they were starting in a different place.  Regardless of the answer, their next step was to consider their own personal reading journey and write about it.
I want readers in my room to understand and appreciate that we need to think past the book we’re reading and onto the next book and the next book and so on (I’m working through Reading Ladders to help me help them with this right now).  Everywhere has somewhere they can go!  Here’s to a remarkable reading year in Rm. 202!