Sunday, September 6, 2015

Book Clubs & Struggling Readers!

Thank you all so much for the kind words after my Book Club Crash Course post! I greatly appreciate it! I did have several questions though about how I handle struggling readers...
So, let's chat about students that are at least two levels below grade level and need that "extra" help! I have three go-to solutions to help make book clubs a success for all students! Here's a few of my tricks to get that "buy in" from those reluctant or struggling readers.
First, I tell those students that I have a "top secret" book choice for them at that's not on our original list. I try to have at least 2 choices but sometimes depending on their level and the amount of kids - it's not always so easy. After getting them excited about a top secret book, I show them a trailer for their NEW book. This usually gets a lot of buy in - if students still seem hesitant then I try and find another book. Usually between the words "top secret" and a special preview, I don't have to do too much more persuasion.

This year's top secret choice for all my ELL boys is Stink!
I'm so thankful that Half Price books had a set of FIVE of the same book! {It was 20% off weekend!}
Secondly, this group has book club with the teacher days. They're going to be Book Club VIPs because they get special reading time with me! I will read with this group for the first few sessions of book club to make sure everything is getting started off with a clear understanding. We'll read through some difficult chapters and look up any challenging vocabulary. Last year, I made the mistake of just going by reading levels for some books -- we ended up reading Touch Blue because it's a Q in my group. However, words like wharf, dock, tide, and inlet were completely foreign to my Ohio readers. So we had to take some time to understand the geography of our setting and look up new words on the iPad so we could "see" some images of these places. I can't read with them everyday during book club because I could never do conferences. So, after the first few sessions, they do read on their own since the books are at their level, however, they usually come to my back table and work with me or as a group on the practice for the day. This gets more and more independent as students demonstrate understanding.

I'm also super lucky to have an amazing Support Educator, teaching partner, and super paraprofessional that are willing to help with students! Usually, we can make several groups based on reading level to make sure everyone has a spot in our reading community!
Lastly, I pull out the "big" ticket item... I download all my lower level books on my iPod! My students BEG for iPod days. This allows some of my less fluent readers to keep up and my ELL students to "hear" their books for mood, tone, etc. This was such a huge part of the buy-in last year for my struggling readers. They loved getting to listen to their books. I bought several of the Belkin headphone splitters so between my old iPod and my really, really, really old iPhone - we had all students in my group covered. This also worked well for days I couldn't read with the group or I was out sick. I trained them all how to operate the books I downloaded and off they went! Plus, to many students it still looked as though they were "reading" quietly like everyone else. I found that this really helped a lot of my students - they didn't need to listen to every chapter and every book, but those few listening sessions a week really helped them build that foundation for comprehension.

How do you include your struggling readers into your reading community?
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8 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing! Love the "top secret" and iPod ideas!

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    Replies
    1. Heather,

      Hope it can help you! Those have always worked for me in the past! I always have a few that don't buy into it but usually the kids get pretty excited about a top secret book that only they know about :)

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  2. I love your "Top Secret" book idea. Book trailers are awesome, but a special preview would make them even better for our reluctant readers. Thank you for sharing all of these great ideas!

    Mary
    Fit to be Fourth

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  3. Students have now english editing service for their project work. This gets more and more independent as students demonstrate understanding.

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