Today in class I introduced the idea of book talks to the students. This was the project I had mentioned on Monday in my post and even put in the links. You can find all of this information on the blog by clicking on the tab that says “Book Talks.” There you will find all of the information for this project all year long.
As mentioned, the students will be responsible for a book talk once a month. My expectation is that they should be reading 20 minutes minimum every night. We discussed in class today how you have to practice reading to become a better reader, just like you have to practice football before you go out for the big game. I also spent some time discussing “just-right” books with the kids in class. We talked about how to find a book that is on their ability level. A student can open their book to any page (near the middle is recommended) and silently read the page to themselves. If they find that they do can’t pronounce or just don’t 4 or more words the book is too hard for them to read on their own. If they find that they know all of the words on the page or only 1 word they didn’t know it is probably too easy. We discussed a “just-right” book should have 1 to 3 words that you don’t know or are unable to pronounce. This kind of a book is great practice and can help them to become better readers.
We also discussed that sometimes we do just read a book for enjoyment. I thoroughly enjoyed Diary of a Wimpy Kid, however I know that it was too easy and didn’t teach me any new vocabulary. These types of books are fine to read for fun, however we also need to mix in some more complex texts to build our vocabulary and increase our comprehension. I will be meeting with every student at least twice a month just to discuss their independent reading one-on-one.
I really love the book talks because I think it takes the pressure off of the idea that they have to create something. It really is as simple as standing up and giving a presentation. I DID tell the kids to look over the rubric carefully because I will be grading them on those Grade 7 Speaking & Listening Standards, such as making eye contact with the audience, speaking slowly and clearly, etc. This is an important life skill that I feel students need to start preparing and getting comfortable with to help them in the future.
Please note: An “appropriate” book varies for middle school students. I spoke with the students about this today. I did let them know that if I question their book choice I will just ask for a parent signed note or signature saying they are OK with the book their child is reading. Some students have already been asking to read Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, etc. I am OK with this so long as parents are aware of what they are reading as well. I fully support your decision to let your child read or not read a book. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Tomorrow I am going to share some books that will fulfill our first book talk on Realistic Fiction and then they will have some time in the library to check-out books. We are also going to discuss MAP testing and set a goal for our first MAP test. 2nd & 5th hour are MAP testing on Friday and Tuesday. 3rd & 7th hour are MAP testing on Wednesday & Thursday.
2nd Hour: Summer Reading Essay on symbolism is due Friday, September 13.
3rd, 5th & 7th Hours: Permission slip for book talk needs to be signed. Summer Reading Essay due Tuesday, September 3.