Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh yeah, I had totally forgotten! A Reader's Notebook!

When I was teaching in the classroom, there were two ESSENTIAL pieces to my preparation for school. Outside of getting the library in order and stocked, that is.

I CAN'T teach without every child having a Reading Notebook, and a Writing Notebook.

Writing notebooks have been around for years (oh, yes, the dark ages when I started teaching -- even with whole language in play) but Reading Notebooks have grown in popularity over the past 5-10 years.

They have evolved too. Originally, I used my RN as a place for kids to do their response questions and center work. Then I added a reading log, where they write down what they read and pages/genre/author. Next came an interest list, then I found it necessary to create tabs with sections...for minilessons, for log, for responses.

But now that I am working more with individuals, for some silly (ok, stupid) reason, I completely overlooked using one with my kids.

Here's where I want you to evaluate its worth, however. Some teachers already have really extensive response homework or logs to fill out. If that is the case, just wait until summer to start your notebook with your child. It will be too much, and no fun. That's what I am doing with my boys.

But it dawned on me when I was reading with my precious girl on Tuesday that we hadn't been keeping a notebook! It came about when she was returning a Fancy Nancy book and didn't have anywhere to put her sticky notes with the new words she had learned.

I gasped, "Hey A! You know what I want to do next week? I want to set up a SPECIAL notebook for you. One where you can put your notes, we can write down all you have been reading, you can rate your books, make illustrations, whatever you want related to reading - I can't believe we haven't done it yet!"

Her eyes lit up.

I went on. "I will get stickers and special paper and we can decorate it exactly how you want to and it is going to be yours forever. Just think - you will have a huge list of books to write that you have already completed since we started reading together. At least four Katie Kazoo, and two picture books/fluency books each time you've come. WOW!"

She was so excited. And so am I.

Now don't stress yourself about how it is used. Keep in mind the age and level of your child. If I were doing this with a young child, I may write the name of the book we read on the top of the page and the date, and have my child color a picture of whatever they want from the book. For an older child, you can have as many sections as you can break it into genres, etc.

For her -- she's mid to end of year kindergarten - I am keeping it simple. I will give you ideas as we go along, but here's what I am thinking:

  • A log, or a few pages at the beginning for her to write down books she's read. I will have the date, author, and genre too.
  • The second section will be her response section. This is where we will date when she reads and she can either write a little about what she read, ask a question, predict what is going to happen, draw an illustration, react, and just be a reader. I will make sure she writes the title of the book each time as well.

That's it.

Why is a notebook important? Well, it helps organize thoughts, and gives you a concrete way to see what you are thinking and what you have accomplished -- but it is a treasure trove. I love looking back on the notebooks I have. I see where I was...and how much I have grown. I also sometimes find nuggets of "wow, that was pretty deep thinking for my age."

So today I am headed to Michael's crafts to buy some decorative girly things (since I don't have any of that at my house) and a composition book. I can't wait.

By the way, for those of you who want a cute book to get you started, there is a book "Books Make Me Happy" by Judy Pelikan...adorable.

No comments:

Post a Comment