Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Can Read Books

So today I'm hoping to share something
VERY simple...
VERY easy...
while still being a VERY good idea!

It's called I Can Read Books! Do you use black and white/paper books  in your classroom? You know the ones... you copy them on the copy machine. You cut them into their pages. You lick your fingers to collate them by pages. You staple them and then you repeat that process 25+ times for each student in your classroom. To get ONE set of books ready to read in your class takes almost an entire prep time.  Do you know what I'm talking about? It doesn't stop us from making them however- and I would give blood, sweat, and so much time to make them for all subject areas. We might read two a week in my class! One of the reasons I loved using them is kids could HUNT and color what they knew in the print- new high frequency words- letters- phonics patters etc.

So, we would read them. We would find some new words/letters etc. and then the students would have a few minutes to color them and they would go home with the kids in backpacks/folders that night.

Now fast forward to the next morning or even the next week and guess what is all crumpled up at the bottom of their backpack? You guessed it! That book that it took me almost an entire Music prep time to assemble. My I Can Read Books were clearly not getting the same amount of honor at home as they would get at school! So I stopped sending them home! That's right! I keep them at school now. If you can't treat my little books right- you can't have them at home! :)

Enter easy idea here!


I got folders for every kid and a management plan (here the folders are kept organized by tables- green triangles, purple pentagons etc.) and I started having kids put their books away in their I Can Read Folders after we had read them that day rather than in cubbies to go home.  

Now, in our classroom I have one more collection of familiar reading. It also makes an easy center.
I don't have to do anything but teach to have the center keep itself going.   I put a sign/poster/dry erase board near the center that says "When you read your I Can Read Books this week remember to look for __________ "  and I would write down what we had learned lately. A new high frequency word, a new letter, some phonics rule or skill, new punctuation etc. 

Kids were then re-reading books from AGES ago (well a few weeks ago is ages in Elementary terms) while armed with a highlighter (and if you are not that brave then a yellow crayon) and if they found a NEW thing in an OLD book they would highlight it. The kids get so excited to find NEW things in books they know how to read! It is too funny. "There is an A in Humpty Dumpty!!! Look there is an A!" 

Now... if you want to go to the next step... keep reading. 

At some point the books DO go home- when the folders get so stuffed, we do a little cleaning out- however. I want to make sure they have a VERY SPECIAL place to go home to. So we also decorate I Can Read Boxes in early October. You know like Valentine's Boxes? It is a family school work assignment. 

It is around early October that these folders start to get a little stuffed. And I'm ready to see a few of them go home. BUT I don't want them to end up in the garbage. So we make a VERY special box! The kids bring those boxes to school (all decorated) and we do a little quick "OOOOOOOO and AHHHHHH" circle to show off their at home handiwork. Then the students get to pick their first ten (or so) books to go into their I Can Read Box. 

And voila- the boxes go home. Every month or so we empty the I Can Read Folders and kids take their books home to put in the box. Now my kids have a familiar reading collection at home too! At the end of the year... we have an I Can Read Party. Kids bring their box to school... SOOO STUFFED WITH BOOKS some of the boxes can barely close anymore! 

It's usually nice weather and we have a reading beach party! 
Kids think it is so cool to look back at all the books they know how to read!  

Simple?
Easy?
Hope you like it and can use it! 
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Melissa