Challenge #3: Prepare displays, table baskets, book shelves, or stacks of enticing books.

Challenge #3: Prepare displays, table baskets, book shelves, or stacks of enticing books for every age and stage that you work with. The purpose of this challenge is to ensure that every child comes face to face with a tantalizing collection of books from the minute they enter your classroom.  One of our favorite ways to do this is to have table baskets of an inviting variety of books sitting out from the first moment of the first day.

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     “Although I enjoy digging through the library to help students find books, my aim is            to help them develop self-confidence in choosing books for themselves.”   

-Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

For many of our students, absolute free reign of the classroom library may be a bit overwhelming at first. Think about the last time you were at a restaurant with a massive menu- The Cheesecake Factory comes to mind. Their menu is over a dozen pages long! Choosing what to drink let alone an entire meal can be quite the task when presented with so many choices. Continue reading “Challenge #3: Prepare displays, table baskets, book shelves, or stacks of enticing books.”

Challenge #2: Make sure your classroom library is in tiptop shape: well-stocked, well-organized, accessible, and appealing.

Challenge #2: Make sure your classroom library is in tiptop shape, well-stocked, well-organized, accessible, and appealing. Then make a plan for how you will introduce the library to your students in the early days of school, gradually inviting them to explore particular baskets, shelves, or sections. 

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“A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.” -Henry Ward Beecher

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How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

Want to cultivate a true community of readers?  It all starts with books. And that means giving the book collection center stage in your classroom. Continue reading “Challenge #2: Make sure your classroom library is in tiptop shape: well-stocked, well-organized, accessible, and appealing.”

Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day.

Today we share the first of our challenges to help you cultivate a community of readers before the school year even starts. We’re so glad you’ve decided to come along. 

Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day. Decide when independent reading will happen in your classroom every single day. Put this time on your schedule. Make a commitment to yourself to honor it every day as sacred and non negotiable.

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“A child sitting in a quiet room with a good book isn’t a flashy or marketable teaching method. It just happens to be the only way anyone ever became a reader.”   -Nancie Atwell

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How can this action help to grow a community of readers?

Commitments drive actions. A commitment to build a true community of readers begins with a commitment to make time for self-selected reading each and every day of the coming school year. Continue reading “Challenge #1: Make a pledge to nurture self-selected independent reading every day.”

Cultivating a Community of Readers: 13 Things You Can Do Before the School Year Starts

The lazy days of summer are slipping away. The first day of school is just around the corner! And although we’re both working hard to soak up every last drop of these delightful summer days, we find our thoughts are shifting more and more to the children about to enter the school doors and the ways we will prepare to greet them. We’re guessing the same is true for you. 

If you follow our work, it‘s no surprise to you that we believe cultivating a thriving community of readers through daily, high-volume, choice reading and conferring is one of the most important aspirations for all classroom teachers. Because of this, we’ve decided we’d like to give our readers a series of back to school challenges, offering educators from across the country (and maybe even the globe) a few simple, but practical ways to do just that- start cultivating a community of readers before the school year even begins. 

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                      Reading brings us together. It forges relationships. Creates community.                        Gives us the courage to resist our enemies. Provides comfort when we’re alone.             And it gives us freedom.

Travis Crowder @teachermantrav

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This post is the first in a series titled 13 Things You Can Do Before the School Year Starts to Cultivate a Community of Readers. Each post in the series is designed as a separate challenge, aimed at helping you greet the first day of the school “reader ready.” Maybe you’ll decide to really go for it and  tackle all thirteen challenges, or maybe you’ll choose to focus more intensely on only a few. The choice is yours, of course. You’re the best judge of what’s right for you.  

Each challenge will include:

  • How this Action Will Help Grow a Community of Readers
  • Ideas to Get You Started
  • Questions to Consider
  • Helpful Links or Resources

We’re hopeful that you’ll take the time to learn alongside us during this final month of summer. It might even be fun to grab a friend or invite your entire team to do this together. However you do it, each challenge you complete will allow you to start making a difference for this year’s students before you even meet them! 

The first of the 13 challenges is coming on Friday! From there, we’ll be sharing a new post every couple of days during the month of August. So that you don’t miss a single challenge, we encourage you to use the FOLLOW button (in the side bar or at the bottom of the page) to get every one delivered right to your inbox!  

Enjoy the heck out of these last days of summer- sleep late, make s’mores, find time for lunch with a friend, read a trashy novel, or do whatever else brings you summer joy. We’re not trying to rush summer out the door.  We just want you to know that our thirteen challenges will be here – ready whenever you are!

-Kari & Christina

Children’s Book in Image:  Space Exploration by Carole Stott