Building Excitement for Reading – Reading in the Wild Book Study (Chapter 2)

In my classroom, I often find that read alouds quickly build student interest.   I love to read the first book in a series and get the students really involved.  Frequently, students like to continue with a series and/or author I have introduced in class.

Every year around Halloween, I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my class.  I decorate the room with Harry Potter inspired items.  When it is read aloud time, I put on my Hogwarts cape, Gryffindor scarf,  and Harry Potter glasses!  Then, instead of  a Halloween party, we have a Harry Potter Party.  We have a “potions class” (an ice cream sundae bar) where the students concoct their own creations and we watch the movie.  The students complete an activity comparing the movie version with the book version (meeting standards for the Common Core).  Guess what?  The kids always prefer book.

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I cannot tell you how many students say this was their FAVORITE part of the entire year. Moreover, many of my students go on to read the rest of the series.

Students in my class have become excited about other books I have used as read alouds (he Lightning Thief, Little House in the Big Woods, The Leomanade War, and many others).

I’m not gonna lie.  Finding the time to read aloud is a constant struggle.  However, I believe that it is one of the best things I do as a teacher to build excitement about reading.  I will continue to MAKE the time for read aloud each day.


Creating a Workshop Schedule

Today, I am linking up with Ideas by Jivey and Flip Floppin’ through 3rd Grade to discuss Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild.


At my school site, the upper grades ELA time is 90 minutes.

I have yet to meet a reading teacher who thinks this is enough time.

My Reading Workshop is divided into 3 30 minute sections and is loosely based on the Daily 5 by the 2 Sisters.  However, since I am an upper grade teacher, my “Daily 5” is really a “Daily 4”.  I have taken out the Word Work (my students work with words & complete spelling activities at home.)

Typically, the first 30 minutes is a morning warm-up activity, reading & grammar notebook time, and a whole class mini-lesson.  Then, the second  & third 30 minute blocks are used for rotations.  I have four rotation centers:  novel reading with the teacher, read to self, read to someone, and work on writing.  Each student will complete 2 centers each day.  The following day they will complete the other 2 centers.  Based on this schedule, I see each reading group 2 times a week.

Based on my reading of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild, I plan to change my first 30 minutes of my Reading Workshop this coming year.  Instead of a morning warm-up (aka: worksheet), I will have the students read for the first 20 minutes of the day and I will use the last 10 minutes to complete a whole-class mini-lesson.

I have been sooooo excited about this change!  In fact,  I have even discussed it with my grade-level team.  They have agreed to do the same thing!  My colleagues are also willing to hold the 40-book challenge that Miller suggests in her books.  I am hoping that other teachers at my school will join us.

Overall, I have been very happy with my Workshop Schedule.  The students spend most of the 90 minutes READING – rather than completing worksheets and activities (Shhhh!  I don’t use the Practice Book that comes with our Basal Reading Program).  When my students go to Work on Writing center, they are writing about their close reading and are working on text dependent questions/answers related to their reading.  Of course, I would LOVE to have more time to devote to ELA and reading instruction – but I think most teachers feel the same way.

How do you create your workshop schedule?  Do you plan to make any changes (based on your reading of Miller’s book)?