Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just Right books are the KEY

Today I had the opportunity to talk to my kids about choosing Just Right books. I began by talking about Goldilocks, and how she went from Papa's bed (too hard), to Mama's bed (too soft), to Baby's bed (which was just right) to finally be comfortable enough to fall asleep.

We related it to books. Finding a just right book, one that is not too hard or easy, will make it possible for us to settle in and lose ourselves in reading.

When we have just right books, we enjoy them. They feel good. We understand.

We talked about the five finger test for a Just Right book. When reading the first few pages, count on your fingers each time you get to a word you don't know, or a place where you are confused. If you put five fingers up, that is a sign the book might not be right for you RIGHT NOW. I emphasize that with the kids. If we label a book as too hard...sometimes they get very discouraged and frustrated because in their minds, that means they can't handle something they really thought they wanted to do.

If you word it like this, "It may not be just right, right now -- let's put that on a waiting list for later and check back on it." Then there is hope -- they know they can go back to it later.

My kids took independent books and did a five finger check today. Tonight, their homework is to go home and explain it to mom and dad and show them how the book THEY chose is a just right one.

I conferenced much of the day, helping kids make selections. Were some of them right on? You bet. Were some of them choosing books that weren't? Yep. I coached a lot today, but a lot of my time was spent LISTENING to them. Forming bonds. And making an occasional suggestion.

Right now I need to earn their trust. I need them to trust that I am there to help, but that they are the ones who need to make choices...good ones. I need them to learn to be honest with themselves as readers...where they are, what they can do, what is too hard.

So it goes...tomorrow, more just right books.

1 comment:

  1. You're such a great teacher! I really enjoyed this post!