I was in Memphis TN when I decided to make one! I was teaching teachers the next day, but I had a rental car and I had passed a few dollar stores on my way to my hotel. So off I went.
So what does a teacher DO with a Reader's Notebook one might ask?
I divided mine into SECTIONS first. Each page marking the section decorated with more scrapbook paper of course!
My Life as a Reader
My Life as a Reading Teacher
My Life as a Reader
I am going to use this section to PAY ATTENTION to the kind of reader that I am! There's a list of my likes and dislikes in reading. Pictures of my favorite books and favorite genres and the reasons why I read them. I am using this section to write down lines I love from books I have read and will continue to read.
I used this section to write down my reading memories too. Thinks like Book It and trips to the used bookstore with my Grandma as a kid. My reading memories become reading memories I can share with my students- thus helping them connect to reading memories.
My favorite item in this section is my Reading Timeline. I got the idea from Julie Ballew! When I do this activity with teachers, you should just see them LIGHT UP! Readers have memories of books- books that stand out in our history- books we will always remember. I challenge you to make your own reading timeline and see what shows up for you! Here is mine...
My Life as a Reading Teacher
In this section I'm going to keep track of what I'm teaching or could teach my readers. I see this section as a personal brainstorming place or record of anchor charts I've used in the classroom. I left a lot of room for this section. One thing I do at the beginning of the year as part of the work of Debbie Diller and her book Reading with Meaning is brainstorm with students:
Where Do Readers Read?
What Do Readers Read?
Who Do You Know That's a Reader?
What Do Readers Do?
The answers from students builds a reading community in our classroom- a fundamental component of a successful Reader's Workshop. I then make Anchor Charts of these conversations and hang in the classroom. I've made samples of what these anchor charts might look like inside my Reader's Notebook.
Also of note in this section is my Anchor Chart on Fluent and Not Fluent Reading. Working with a class in Memphis we generated the difference. Asking kids to DEFINE fluency was challenging. I found them just saying "fluent reading is fluent". We had to dig MUCH deeper into that together. I of course was ready with possible responses. This was the anchor chart I brainstormed in my Reader's Notebook before I made an anchor chart with them.
So far in this section I am keeping up with my reading goals. One goal is the Book a Day Challenge from Donnalyn Miller. I am keeping track of the books I read as part of this challenge- it is a challenge all right! As I read, I am keeping notes of ideas for use with these books in my Read Alouds Section. Nothing fancy- just small notes as to what I could demonstrate or model as part of an Interactive Read Aloud or even a Shared Reading lesson. Also part of Reading Goals is to encourage students to make and keep their own.
I also have a page with a printout of my Shelfari bookshelf in here of the books I plan to read. To paraphrase Donnalyn Miller in her book The Book Whisperer, kids need to be guided to keep lists of books they WANT to read in order to keep reading. Kids see reading as a one book at a time rather than a continuous cycle.
I just finished a series of three books this summer (I'll let you figure out the series) and I am already on my hunt for a new book. Finish one and begin another. That is how a reader works! If you haven't checked out Shelfari you need to! That may be my NEXT blog post? Maybe I do have more to share than I thought! :)
Seems that my Independent Reading and Read Alouds section are working in tandem. I am also using this section to write down thinking that is SAID during my Read Alouds when we are focussed on a specific comprehension strategy. Tracking "talk" and "thinking" allows me to go back and make connections in my teaching and students learning. I can't always manage this while also teaching, but I sure do try! I most enjoy sitting in the back of the room while other teachers teach lessons and record student thinking FOR them!
I can't wait to keep collecting ideas of what else could fill my Teacher's Reader's Notebook. The purpose of it for me to be reflective of my life as a reader so I can better teach reading to my students and be on the lookout for what I can encourage my students to do and think about in their life as a reader.
What are you waiting for? Start yours! You KNOW you want to make your lists... and your READING TIMELINE!
Happy reading teachers!