Friday, April 18, 2014

Igniting a Passion for Reading

Our staff book club just met this week to discuss our 2nd book from our newly formed book club. We read "Igniting a Passion for Reading" by Steven Layne. We met at a local coffee shop in town and took some time to get together and discuss this amazing book! 

Book Club Selection #2

We all agreed that we loved reading Steven Layne's voice in this book. It was easy to read and we could tell that he could relate to teachers. He has had a lot of experience in the classroom and he gets the things that we have to deal with on a daily basis.  He also had quite a bit of humor in his book which made it an extra enjoyable read! One of our teachers recommended this book with the words, "This is the best book that I have ever read on literacy." So we decided to delve into this one after we read "Reading in the Wild." This was a great choice! 

We discussed his idea of a reading lounge in the school. Great idea...but we had some hesitations and we also have space issues in our school. We discussed the importance of recommending books for our students and really trying to find books that connect with them and invite in the love of reading. We shared stories of approaching our students with stacks of books and the time spent looking for books for these kiddos. And then finally...finding that perfect book that resonates with a child. 

We then talked about goal setting and how this could impact a child and their reading life. Is it good? Can it backfire? Is it too much at certain grade levels? Is it necessary at certain grade levels? How can the focus of a goal change a reader?

Then we had the age-old discussion about book logs! Do you make your students do them? Do you not do them?  What about those students that never write their books down but read 10 books a week? What about those that never finish a book? What do you do with information? How would we feel if we were asked to write down the title, author, etc. of every book that we read?  Then I heard a fabulous idea...what about having your students take a picture of their book with their iPad and then they will have a running photo stream of their books. This helps with the reluctant writers and the students that lack organization skills, and best of all of the photos can be put into a folder and kept together. 

I told the group about how I had started book chat groups and how they were AWESOME! This was my favorite part of Steven Layne's book! I put my students in groups of 4-5 and we meet about 3 times a week.  They read to self for a period of time and then meet with their group. They are given a question to reflect upon and discuss in their group. They share their book, the author, what page they are on, their initial rating of the book and then they discuss the question as it relates to their book. For example, "identify something about the main character that is really bothering you or something that you really like about the main character and why do you feel the way you do?" or "compare and contrast two characters in your book and which one do you prefer and why?" As the students meet in groups, I meet with a group, take some anecdotal notes, and participate along with them. After they finish their book chat, they are to read to self until all of the groups are done. These groups have worked beautifully and have been a great alternative to Lit Circles at the end of the year. They are holding students accountable to their reading, exposing students to new books, and the students love sharing what they are reading with their friends. 

It was great to get together with good friends outside of school and talk about how we are implementing some of these things in our classrooms and what we are finding that works for us. We never have enough time to talk and share in school so this was the perfect opportunity for us! 
Next up: The Literacy Teacher's Playbook by: Jennifer Serravallo


  1. This sounds like it was a great read! I am so impressed by the organic nature of this book club. The idea about students taking a picture of the book as part of a reading log is fantastic. Another layer on this concept would be to have students add some thinking about their reading and/or questions, maybe a recommendation and then share this with others in the class or a global community. So many possibilities to make the book log have an authentic purpose.

    I agree, there isn't anything better than book chats to get students excited about reading. My mind went to how students might connect in a virtual space between the book chats. Just imagine how the discussion could continue between the times they sit face to face. I've seen rich discussions facilitated by students and deeper learning as they bring in connections from other reading and the world into this space. This is very doable, I'd love to help you set it up if you're interested.

  2. Michelle-Let's connect and chat. :-)