Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reading Life Timeline Assignment

After rereading Reading in the Wild this summer, I got the idea to have my students create reading timelines of important moments in their reading lives to help me get to know them better this year as readers. This has been one of my favorite launching activities, I've ever done! The students were super excited about creating their timelines and the book discussion it generated was simply amazing! From talks of Brown Bear, Brown Bear to Because of Winn Dixie and The One and Only Ivan, all my students were excited to share their favorite books (even my nonreaders!).

I started off with this picture of me reading a book about Fraggle Rock at around 3 years old... 
We talked about how books are a part of our lives before we can even read! I mentioned that at 3 years old I was not actually reading this book about Fraggle Rock but I was doing all the great things readers do. I had my own cozy spot next to a lamp and I had the book open and I chose a book that was interesting to me!  So even at 3 year old I was already "reading" to myself. I then went on to share my favorite reading memories from childhood.

Here's the assignment directions I gave:
Here's my timeline:
(Special thanks to Education Layne for the free template)

I discussed how I "read" Are you My Mother? before I could even read by memorizing the main line. I talked about how the first author I ever met was Gail Gibbons and she signed my copy of The Milk Makers. I gushed over my Lois Lowry favorites Number the Stars and The Giver. And I talked about how Goosebumps was the first series I really became obsessed with! Lastly, I shared how Maniac Magee was my favorite book in fifth grade and it was the first book I chose to reread on my own.

I gave my students time in class to brainstorm their own favorite books and the stories behind them. Then they finished the timeline as part of their first reading homework assignment.

Here's what my fifth graders came up with... 
The next day, we had a gallery walk and then got into new groups to share timelines. Students had the "mission" of finding someone with similar book interests and meeting someone new in class. Overall, it was a huge success and now I can also know a LOT more about my students as readers from one simple assignment.

Can you use this in your class?
You can download a PDF version of my Reading Life Timeline directions and template from my Google Drive. I can not take credit for the original timeline since that was created by Education Layne.

Happy Reading,


  1. Woo Hooo! Thank you! We will be doing this this week!

  2. I love this! We must be around the same age because Fraggle Rock and Are You My Mother? were definite favorites for me, too!

  3. This is wonderful! I've wanted to create a reading timeline and this handout will be so helpful!


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