We are now three full weeks into our book clubs and my students are blowing me away with their excitement and participation within the reading process. In my prior post, I touched on the set up the process of student choice for students to be more involved and ultimately invested in their book clubs. The first and foremost goal of these book clubs was to get students reading a book that they were excited about reading. My co-teacher and I planned out all of our goals for this book clubs unit, we prioritized and decided on a few goals:
- We wanted the focus to be on actually reading a book cover to cover for enjoyment.
- We wanted to review and reteach key literature reading standards in the context of a novel.
- We wanted to allow students to engage in meaningful discussions about a common text.
- We wanted to be able to confer with students to guide their reading growth.
Our first goal is well on its way to being accomplished. Students are immersed in their book and making good progress towards completing their book on time. Each book club group met on “match day” and created an accountability calendar to create a group reading pace and to ensure that they finish the book within a month. Even my typically reluctant readers have been reading!
Our second goal was to review and reteach key literature reading skills in the context of a novel. Each week students are given a specific focus for their reading. For example, week two focuses entirely on conflict. At the beginning of the week, we reviewed the importance of the skill with a lens on understanding what we read and how it is important. We did not want the process of students showing us that they understand what they are reading to inhibit their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, we came up with one page a week for students to record notes on the skill. Students can write their notes as they are reading, after they have finished their reading for the given class period, or that night at home. We felt that flexibility was the best measure to not make this burdensome for students. We have found that these weekly notes have been enough guidance for all students to be successful in thinking about the key skill for the week in a meaningful context to demonstrate their understanding.
Thirdly, we wanted to allow students to engage in meaningful discussions about a common text. We allow students to check in with one another daily within their book club group. Students hold one another accountable to the reading and are actually talking about their reading! Some days we have structured questions for the students’ discussions, however, we have found that allowing the students to share on their own terms about the skill of the week has kept their attention and focus worthwhile.
And our final goal of conferring with students to guide their reading growth has been exciting an exciting process for me. Truly teaching in the workshop model requires conferring with students; but, in my classroom, most students had not been reading the same texts so conferencing was always a challenge to be truly immersive. Using the book clubs structure has really allowed me to immerse myself into the conference. I have found that my conferences have become deeper and more transformative because of the focus and context of our book clubs than any of my conferencing has been.