Falling in Love with Books!

Archive from The Teacher Triathlete, December 2016

This past Wednesday, the introduction of my self-created reading workshop mini lesson went something like this… 

Fifth graders, I have to tell you something exciting!  Do you remember when we shared our reading goals with each other a little while ago?  (Nods all around)  Do you remember my goal as a pleasure reader?  

Yes!  You want to focus on finding books you love and abandon fewer books.

That’s right!  And, I am excited to tell you that I have once again fallen in deep, deep, magical love with a new-to-me book!  This feeling is so great, so satisfying-  it is my biggest wish for all of you.  Fifth graders, today and for the next couple weeks we are embarking on a new unit in reading workshop.  We are going to focus on falling in love with books and reading those books we have fallen for.  That’s it! 

Clapping, nods, and cheers suddenly filled the air space in my fifth grade classroom.  

Over the next couple weeks, we’re taking a break from the Reading Units of Study and heavy analysis of our reading to take some joyful steps back into our roots as readers.  For the past two school days and the next 10 before winter break, we’re reading books we love in my fifth grade classroom!  My students are tasked with two things: 

1.  Read a book you love every single day in class.  

2.  Read a book you love every single day at home. 

Two boys revisiting a past favorite! 
For the short amount of time that we have been reading in our falling in love with books unit, I have engaged in the most meaningful  and thoughtful conferences that I have had with students all year. Even though my current mini lessons aren’t exactly packed with complex ideas and strategy practice, my students are continuously using the strategies they need to access the texts they choose.  They are doing this in books that they truly love. This is transfer at its finest!  A peek inside the classroom right now will show students taking their time to browse through the library, stacks of recommended books from friends sitting on tables for others to try, kids reading, kids talking reading, and kids writing book recommendations for each other.  Reading workshop time in the classroom is just completely joyful and fun right now!  Isn’t this how it should always feel?

When I talked about the plans for my class through winter break with my trusted and beloved group

I cannot wait to see what happens over the next ten days before we all say goodbye for winter break. I’ll report back shortly after.of literacy colleague friends from across the country, one of them mentioned that I am diving back into the origins of workshop.  Our mini (almost micro) lessons will be based on what I see in my students, not on a predetermined sequence or strategy lesson of the day.  Conferences will be truly authentic and reader-centered as there will be no genre, author, topic, or level boundaries.  Most importantly, my students will focus on finding books they love, reading those books, and thinking about what they have learned about themselves as readers in the process.


By the way, the new-to-me book that I’ve fallen in love with is Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.  

Happy reading, friends! 

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