Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Considering Interest in Choosing Books for Reading Lessons

Some days just make you smile.  Today was one of those days.  

Choosing books for reading lessons can be a delicate balance.  As a teacher supporting readers working to catch up to peers, I try to be thoughtful about these choices.  I want to choose books that will support my teaching point and help students work toward their goals.  I try to find a book that will allow the reader to use what they know, but provide enough challenge for the reader to do some reading work.

It's easy to set interest aside, yet I know that helping these students want to read is as important as teaching them how to read.  Today as I looked through titles to find a book for one of my students, a Fly Guy book caught my attention.  I paused and pulled out the book, I Spy Fly Guy.  Would it work?  It was a book of appropriate challenge for the lesson.  This reader uses meaning, but is working to balance visual information.  It seemed this book would provide enough of a challenge to accomplish this.

This book would not only work for his lesson, but it might help in the next steps of supporting this reader's choices during independent reading times.  His teacher had expressed concern that he had been picking books for his independent reading that were too challenging.  Recent work in small group lessons made me think he knew when a book was a good match, he just wasn't always making that choice.  I don't know why this is exactly, though I have a hypothesis or two.  I wonder, for example, if he wants to look more like the readers in the classroom.  

I was pretty excited once Fly Guy caught my attention; more and more I thought it would be perfect.  The kids love Fly Guy books.  The book had several chapters making it seem a little closer to the books his peers were reading.  More books like this are available in our school library.  The book was close to his independent level so reading one together might make it possible to connect with other Fly Guy titles.    

I picked up the book (and another "just in case" book...just in case things didn't go as planned) and headed to his classroom.  When I sat down beside this reader in the classroom, I could tell he was excited about my choice.  It turned out he had read a couple of books from this series, but thankfully not the one I had with me.  We got started with the reading.  He could hardly stop himself as we ended chapter one to find Fly Guy had been taken by a trash truck.  I was a little worried for Fly Guy, but he was not.  He was sure Fly Guy would find this to be THE BEST THING EVER.  What's not to love about being surrounded by trash if you are a fly?  After our reading lesson, some time working on our teaching point, and a bit of writing, I left the book with him because there was no way he was going to let me leave the room with that book.  He wanted to know what was going to happen next.  

Just before leaving I took a picture of the back of the book which featured other Fly Guy books that have been published.  We then used Skitch to mark the titles he had read so I could see if I could locate the other titles for him to read during his reading time.  These books weren't available in the classroom, but I knew I wanted more titles in his hands for his reading time.  

The lesson went well.  When I left he was ready to continue his reading.  We had laughed.  We had chatted about the book.  He had been reminded of one possibility for his reading that would be something other kids in his room might read too.  Perhaps I had accomplished two things today.  

I stepped out of the room and closed the door behind me.  He was smiling as I walked away.  I was smiling too.  

1 comment:

  1. Got one of my second graders hooked with a Fly Guy book. Thank you!