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Home : 2002 : Sep : 6

    To ddd
    By Elaine

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    ddd,

    It's great to hear from you. It sounds like you are off to a great start! I am anxious to get going on the lit responses in the Reader's Notebooks, too. We must be just about in the same place on the first 20-day plan because we did abandoning books on Tuesday, fiction genre yesterday, and nonfiction genre today.

    About abandoning (we call it "ditching") -- Here's what I've used for a couple of years now with my independent readers. I made up a little half-page form called "Choosing a Book I'll Read and Not Ditch." It has a couple of questions to get them thinking about what attracted them to the book in the first place, and they have to explain their answers on the form. Then they do the 5-finger test on 2 different pages selected at random. If they read the entire page and find 5 or more unknown words, then they have to think about whether the book is too difficult for them at that time. There are a few other items that apply to the way I keep track of the books they are reading independently. Finally, at the bottom of the form it says, "I have worked hard to try to choose a book I'll read and not ditch. I have decided to read _______ ." If they agree, they sign and date it and then I initial it. After that, if they come up to talk to me about ditching, we talk about all the work they did before choosing the book, and I usually get them to hang in there a little longer to give the book a chance. It doesn't solve all the problems, but it puts the responsibility on the student to choose their books more thoughtfully and carefully. This method applies to ditching and to choosing a "just right" book.

    We have so many books in our classroom that a student can just go select another book if they finish during reading time. However, I like as little moving around as possible during IR, so I encourage them to begin selecting a book on their own time as soon as they realize they will finish soon. Just like you, we only go to the library once a week, but students can go into the library to check out a book other times during the week if there is no class in progress at that time. Is that an option for you? We just sign a pass indicating the purpose for the library visit and let a few students go at a time. Maybe you could check to see if your library has any unscheduled time slots and would allow this kind of procedure.

    Now here's my big problem. After reading Fountas and Pinnell, I realize that most of the books on my shelves are way too difficult for my beginning 4th graders. I am now on a mission to add more books that my students can really read independently!!!!!

    Have a great time reading and buzzing! Stay in touch.

    Elaine



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