Challenge #8 Envision the ways you will encourage and nurture interactions within the community of readers. What are the different ways you can encourage, model, and cultivate authentic interactions between your students in the reading community?
“We read to know that we are not alone.” -C.S. Lewis
How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?
Books can provide us so much: a friend in a lonely moment, a shelter from a metaphorical storm, a window into other’s lives, and even a mirror to remind us that we are not walking this journey on our own. Books truly are a gift. Nothing is more special than being able to share that kind of gift with a friend.
The possibilities for sharing books with a friend are really endless. Whether it be through verbal, written, digital, or even drawn recommendations- adding space for book recommendations in your school routine will add to your community of readers in a way that no other activity possibly can. The act of book recommendation encourages us to think about others and what may work work well for them- we often think about their interests, preferences, and who they truly are as people. When we help our students do this for each other, not only are they connecting a person to a book, but also they are making a special bond person to person.
In addition to book recommendations, readers can also connect through opportunities to partner read and informally chat about books. Partner reading provides students with a shared one to one experience around a book with another reader. Each partner read opportunity provides students with a chance to get to know another person in class a little better through a book.
Book Mingling is another way to do this. Book Mingling is when a few minutes is devoted to the whole class moving around the room with their current read in hands, stopping to chat with other readers about those books. This is such a fun and easy activity to do to encourage interaction around reading. For more information on Book Mingling, see the link below.
We also love informal written interactions. Have you ever considered posing a simple question on the white board for students to respond to, or even make use of a graffiti wall?
Tips to Get Started
- Prior to the first day of school, consider preparing a few different types of recommendations on your own to share with your readers every few days in class. Some of the recommendations you can prepare include a verbal book talk, a written recommendaion and accompanying image to be placed on a bulletin board,
- Consider digital options. Our interaction with others is becoming increasingly digital. By using digital options to connect around books, not only are we helping our students authentically respond to reading, but also we are encouraging and often introducing them to positive ways of being a digital citizen. Two of our favorite digital options for sharing books are Padlet and Flipgrid. Christina and her fifth graders really enjoy maintaining a classroom Padlet of books read throughout the year while Kari loves the power of video that flipgrid provides. We’ve included tutorials for both in the links below.
- Also, keep in mind that recommendations do not have to be long- sometimes a post-it taped on the inside back cover of a book or even a classroom visual bookshelf of books recommended can hold a lot of weight when it comes to sharing books.
- If you’re a teacher who may be new to student talk during independent reading time, thinking about ways to ease yourself into a more vocal reading time may be a good idea. Consider thinking about ways to introduce talk during the reading workshop or independent reading time that will gradually grow. We know teachers who designate one part of the room as a talk section and another part as a quiet reading section. Modeling talk during independent reading time can also be helpful. One teacher we know demonstrates a quite chat with another reader and then does a similar chat in a regular speaking voice so students can experience the difference. Talk during reading time may not seem natural or be easy at first, so thinking about how you can incorporate it now before the school year starts will be extremely beneficial to you and your students.
Questions to Consider
- How will you make space in your busy teaching day or week for students to interact with each other around books?
- What are some ways you have tried in the past to foster interaction ebtween readers?
- What are one or two new ways you might push yourself to try this coming school year?
- How will you get in on the interactions with your students?
We’d love to hear from you. How do you imagine you will first encourage interactions around books? How will you start to make this challenge come to life? We’d love to hear your ideas over in our Facebook group. Come and join us!
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