Saturday, September 5, 2015

Book Club Crash Course!

I get a lot questions on social media about my Book Clubs! I thought I'd do a quick crash course on all things book clubs on the blog! I've done "book clubs" in many ways. They started out as small lunch groups then grew to small groups during our "intervention" period. Today, I run my Reader's Workshop using book clubs.
The biggest reason I've found for students "hating" reading is that often they don't know how to choose books. They choose books that are too hard, too easy, or just not interesting to them. TONS of prep work goes into picking the right books for book clubs. I also take student feedback from the previous year into account to help me select a wide variety of books. I always start with a theme or topic, for example our first book club this year focuses on understanding characters. So, all the books I choose MUST have strong main characters.

Then it's time to start reading and researching (checking Scholastic, Nerdy Book Club, asking students, friends, etc.) to find those perfect books! I think choice is super important so I try to have a large variety of book suggestions for my students. They need to feel like they are getting a "say" in the books they want to read for book club in order to have that buy in! They can still read another book on their own but they must read at least one of my choices during the unit. Many students once we're into the unit and everyone is reading often choose to read more than one at the recommendation of their peers! #happyteachermoment

Here's some of this year's picks for our Character Unit:

Here's the letter we sent home to parents:
{Check out the full letter here}

My teaching partner and I model with a read aloud of similar genre and theme. For our character unit, we read a book with a strong lead character. Also, for this unit, most books focus on a character with a disability or taking care of a someone with a disability.

This is how the first 30 minutes of my reading block looks:
- Show teaching point.
- Read from read aloud.
- Model teaching point.
- Group practice with teaching point using read aloud.

Most of my lessons come from Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Teaching Reading (Grade 5). I make sure I can align the lessons to the Common Core and modify them as needed.
The second half of my reading block is for independent student reading and practice. Students have time to read each day during class and then have a focus for reading that day. Sometimes practice is posting to our "Jot Lot", journal prompt, or completing an exit ticket. Some days it's using what we learned to better understand our books. If a mini-lesson is running long or students are having issues, then we often extended the reading and practice into a second day with no "new" lesson or teaching point. During this time, I run individual conferences while students are reading and responding.

Example practice in our notebooks:
For this activity we completed the tone and mood for Rules as a class. Now, students are trying to figure out the tone and mood for their book club novel using our example and notes.
Every Friday (or so) we get together and meet in Book Clubs! Just like book clubs in real life, we don't meet every day so we set a date and make it a special occasion. Students know they can always ask others who are reading the same book for help and support but we don't officially meet in clubs until Friday. On Fridays, we usually have a topic or assignment that students work on together while discussing their books. Since students can be at all different points in the book they often break off into small groups or work together if someone is having difficulty with a section.
My partner and I do lots of modeling and floating around the room. We try not to facilitate discussion on book club days but rather give feedback. Having an assignment or prompt, really helps.  Many fifth graders are still learning how to discuss books and an guided activity helps pull out those rich discussions!

You can check out my post about how I launch book clubs {here} or how I hold students accountable {here}.

What does reading instruction look like in your room?

1 comment

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