It is important to check in with students while they read. Today I am so excited to introduce Meg from Fourth Grade Studio as a guest blogger on 2 Peas and a Dog.
The Power of Connections!
One of the most valuable times of my day begins when my students come in from lunch recess, casually make one last little bit of small talk with their friends, and make their back to their desks to get their independent reading supplies–book…reading log…response notebooks–out and ready for action. Once I see that they are settling in, it’s time for me to take “status of the class”. Each day I write down what my students are reading and what page they are on. The entire process could take 3 minutes but each day I make it last about 10. Why?
Those ten minutes are what I consider a “guaranteed connection” time with my students. At that time, I know that every single day I can have a meaningful connection with each and every one of them! Whether it simply be my asking how they are liking their book, or noticing that they MUST have read a ton at home the night before, or to mention another book they may enjoy–this is my time to get in touch with them as readers and as people. Every one of them gets my attention for 30 seconds…which doesn’t seem like a lot until you really think about your day. Which kids demand your attention the most? Who are your invisible kids? This levels the playing field!
Of course, there are added bonuses as well! I learn about their independent reading behaviors…about their home reading habits…about their taste in books…about their abandon/completion rate…about their thoughts and ideas about their books…and more. But that’s not all! The other students reap the benefits as well! I have 5 students waiting to read “The Eye of the Storm” simply because of the little snippets they have overheard during those status of the class “mini-conferences”. Think of how many mini-lessons the students will have heard over the course of a year!
I have taken status for years and have taken small breaks from it during that time and I always return to it…I simply get so much information from it that I can’t let it go! It’s funny…I always thought that status time was essentially a data collection time for me until, around the holidays, I missed a few days here and there. One of my fourth graders chimed out “Hey! Aren’t you going to take status? I don’t know what everyone is reading!” and I then realized that it isn’t just about me after all! My students have grown to count on it to share their successes, to point out things they have noticed in their texts, to brag that they read for 80 minutes straight the night before without losing stamina, and to get great book recommendations from others.
There is not much more a teacher needs to do when you hear students saying, “Oh! Ashley–if you liked ‘The Lemonade War’ you will LOVE ‘Lunch Money'”. Mission accomplished. Reading community established.
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