Saturday, May 25, 2013

Our Next Read Aloud....

Read aloud is a highlight of my day every day.  I'd even be willing to guess that it's a favorite for most of my students as well.  Although the schedule says 25 minutes, I often stretch our reading time a little longer because it's so hard to put down a good book!  We just finished Wonder, well ahead of schedule because my students were so engaged by the story telling.  Even though it's sad to finish a great book, they immediately wanted to know what's next :-)  And this comes from a group of fairly reluctant readers!  It makes me so happy to earn their trust when it comes to book choices!  Most of my students don't spend precious minutes searching the library for their next independent book.  Instead, they come to me for recommendations.  It really reaffirms my belief that when it comes to great lessons in literacy, it's all about the book.

With only a few weeks of school left, we probably only have time for one more book.  And my readers will be leaving our school to head off to middle school, so I wanted to give them a few ways they can continue to find great books this summer, even if they aren't a part of a reading family.

First, I opened our browser to my favorite site on the Internet....a little site called  Heard of it?  ;-)  Then I searched Wonder by RJ Palacio because I already knew I liked that book.  I showed them how you can scroll down and great book recommendations from other readers.  We read through a few of the negative reviews about Wonder and did some think pair share about the perspectives offered.
Side note: I think if anyone has a graduate this year, a Kindle is really the gift to give.  I've always been a reader, but I read SO much more now that I can purchase books right from my couch!  And I think the new Kindle has a timer that shuts off games and video after a preselected amount of time....genius! 

Since I have a guided reading group that is working through The One and Only Ivan, I told the students we would either read Out of My Mind or Because of Mr. Terupt.  I'd just finished both of them, and I'm pretty sure they'd like either.

I gave the kids some of the info from amazon, such as the number of pages, the age range and the book blurb. 
I really love what I saw.  My students were reading together and making predictions about the book based on the blurb and on the cover.  They wrote out a few questions for me, some of which I answered (such as questions about theme) and some of which I wouldn't (such as "What was the accident in Because of Mr. Terupt?")  One student asked which book I thought was most like Wonder because that would be his choice.  This was the first time I've ever relinquished control of our read aloud book to the class and I'm so happy with how serious they were about making the right choice!

After they read the blurbs and talked at their tables, I answered some of their questions and then handed out a ballot.
Most students made their choices quickly but quite a few really struggled!

So what did they choose?  The winner was.....

It was a landslide!  4 votes for Because of Mr. Terupt and 18 votes for Out of My Mind.  I'll put a copy or two of Because of Mr. Terupt in our library for those kiddos who really wanted to read that book :-) 

So tell you give your students a choice in book selections? What's your current read aloud??

Happy Memorial Day, especially to those awesome military families!


  1. I've never really given my students a vote in our read-aloud books but I do like the idea of it. It is too late for this year, but I think I will give it a try next year.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. What a cool idea printing the book blurbs- there's a reading lesson or two in itself!

    Definitely stealing this idea!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  3. I really like the idea of looking at the reader reviews online and doing the think pair share. It gives them a chance to think critically about the book. I'll be using that idea! Thanks!
    Doodling Around in 6th Grade

  4. I really love Out of My Mind.....
    enjoying your blog and products!


  5. What lesson plans did you use for The One and Only Ivan!?

  6. We also just finished "Wonder" and were a little bit disappointed in the ending. It was our last read aloud of the year and I finished it on the last day of school, which was perfect because the book ends on the last day of school too. I am going to check out the suggestions you made here for my 4th grade classroom next year. A must-have read aloud for me every year is "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" but other than that, I mix it up.

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings