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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Too easy....Too Hard......Just Right

Happy Sunday everybody! I hope that my East Coast buddies are staying safe with Sandy looming. Thinking of you all! We are enjoying a lazy fall morning out here in California. I wanted to take a minute to share what's been going on during reading time in 5th grade.

So it's no secret that my kiddos were having some issues during read to self. We were not exactly reading during our school wide reading time...even though we all had our books out. A lot of my kids were just hanging out with an open book...not so productive. It was seriously driving me CRAZY!

 I felt like I was loosing precious minutes of instructional time while my kids did their best to fake read. It was turning into a huge problem for me and it turned out to have a two part solution.

First,  I taught my kiddos the difference between fake readers and real readers. I blogged about that part of the solution HERE.

The other part of the solution was reteaching picking the right book. I had gone over the idea at the beginning of the year but had never really taught a lesson on the whole concept so I decided to start from scratch.

I scoured blogland and usual first line of defense...and came up with this lesson:

I started by telling them I picked out a brand new book for read aloud and that I was really excited about it. I pulled out The Life of Benjamin Banneker  from my bag and started reading aloud with my usual enthusiasm  Then I said, "Turn to your neighbor and predict what will happen next". *Crickets* A couple of kids tried to come up with something but most just looked at me like I was crazy. Which was exactly what I wanted!

I said, "You all are supposed to be making predictions. What seems  to be the problem?" One of my superstars replied, "Well I really tried to listen but some of the words were really hard and I really couldn't understand the plot. I think that's a high school book or something."

Too which I quickly replied, "Okay, so your telling me this book is too difficult because the words are too hard and you didn't quite understand what was going on. That's okay because I picked up a couple of other books while I was at the bookstore."

Then I pulled out Don't, Danny, Don't! I read three pages and then asked them to predict. They laughed and said "Of course we know what is going to happen. That's a baby book!"

Just before I pulled out the final book I heard one of my students tell her neighbor, "This is just like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. We Can't find the right book." That's when I knew the lesson was going in the right direction. :)

Finally a pulled out James and the Giant Peach. I read 3 pages in my best read aloud voice. My kiddos were hooked! I asked them to predict with their neighbor. There were insightful murmurs all over the room.

I was smiling. My kids were smiling. All was right in the world.

Then we had a quick discussion on why James and the Giant Peach was an appropriate book and why the others were too easy or too difficult for us.

We used that info and created this anchor chart:

(Sorry it's so out of focus!) 

I was so happy that they were able to help me fill out the chart...we even ran out of room on the chart because they had SO many ideas.

At the end of the period, the kids took turns book shopping in the classroom library. We placed the anchor chart in the library so that they were able to refer to it as they shopped. Overall, I feel like the lesson went very well and they really understood and applied the information. I just love when that happens! :)

What lessons went well for you this week? I'd love to hear about them! Leave me a comment below. :)


  1. I have always struggled with the fake readers as well! What a great demonstration to help them learn how to choose the right books.

    Thanks for sharing! I'm trying to think of a lesson that went well, and coming up blank! LOL Good thing tomorrow's a new week...

    Craft of Teaching

  2. There's always next week! :) LOL


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