Guest Blogger: Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

Hi Teacher Friends! I'm Brandee from Creating Lifelong Learners.  I'm guest blogging today for my sweet blogging friend, Lana.  I had the opportunity to meet with Lana for lunch last summer and she is just the cutest, sweetest teacher any student could hope for!

Today I like to share my passion with you!  My passion is reading.  Reading with my students, reading with my boys, reading on the beach, reading in my bed, reading for fun, reading to name it, I truly feel that reading is the key to both PLEASURE AND SUCCESS for us and for our students. It is the best way we can create lifelong learners!

In my classroom I encourage reading for both pleasure and successful LEARNING.  Today I am going to share how I encourage reading for PLEASURE in my classroom with just a touch of accountability to keep them (and me) honest!  That's right...I keep a notebook with them and work and read right along beside them during our Book Talk time! :)

Here's how a typical "BOOK TALK" session goes in our classroom.

Each day I begin class with a brief greeting about how much I am enjoying my current novel and why I can’t wait to pick it back up. I may mention a great kid’s novel that I just heard about, or one that I noticed one of them reading.  This is not a lesson, just a conversation with my fellow readers.  Then I tell them that they may begin reading whatever they would like, but I do give them a few reminders about how they should read. Sometimes I use the metaphor of being a zombie.  I suggest that they should crawl out of their bodies and into their books and onto whatever adventure their main character might be experiencing at that point in their story.  This often gives them a visual that they can relate to. :)  Another great visual is to say that they should feel as though they are watching a movie.  If they can't "see" the movie as they read, then the aren't doing what we call "REAL READING!"

Next, I meet with each child individually on their scheduled days throughout the week to document and talk about what they are reading, their progress, and work on whatever skills they need to successfully grow as readers.  During these conferences we talk about and celebrate their responses.  I know what you are thinking...not another reading log or worksheet type teacher!  No way...I am against anything of the sort. Reading should be fun!  We shouldn't kill the JOY while our students are trying to FIND IT!

We have what we call our BOOK TALK Notebooks.  In these my students set up a title page for a book after they've tested it out and decided it's a KEEPER.  They can tab it and decorate it however they would like.  Then they must do one response for themselves for fun and one for me to show close reading, each week before we conference.  Their FREE OPTIONS include, but are not limited to the following:

You may download the poster from here if you like.
I actually accept anything as long as it shows some thought about the text.  Sometimes I get PowerPoints about the books, pictures, artwork, etc.  Whatever inspires my kiddos and gets them to re-think about the text.

The CLOSE READING OPTIONS are a little more specific but I try to keep them fun.  My students have each of the following bookmarks and are expected to use them to show that they have truly thought deeply about their text by taking a second look at certain parts or aspects of the novel, or have slowed down and read with a SPECIFIC LENS to help them analyze a specific craft of the author was using in the text.  

If you haven't read the text connected to these bookmarks, you really should!  They truly teach our student, and us, how to slow and narrow our focus as we read narratives.  This allows us to dig deeply into a text as readers, and also to notice the writers' crafts being used so that we can use them ourselves as writers too!
Bookmark #1 Ideas from NOTICE AND NOTE
If you are interested in downloading the BOOKMARKS or a few classroom posters that match, please visit my blog over at CREATING LIFELONG LEARNERS for the free downloads.

These are great and can be used with any novel, short story, movie, or picture book!  It takes a lot of modeling, but once you get your babies to slow down, it is amazing what they can pull from ANY book they are interested in.  The key is their INTEREST!

We then close our BOOK TALK session with a STICK PICK share time.  
My students know that if the "CAN" (It is really an APP.) picks them, they will be expected to try to "sell" their books to the class by sharing a little bit of DETAIL and a LOT of THOUGHT using our THINKING STEMS.
Feel free to grab this POSTER here! :)

My students laugh and giggle!  Some beg to get picked, others- not so much...but they all enjoy themselves and end up being introduced to some great novels that they are interested in reading next!

I'd love to have you visit over at my blog and thanks for reading!

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  1. Hi Lana, I love your blog! I was hoping you might hop over to my blog and enter my giveaway! Thanks!!
    Teacher’s Lounge

  2. Oh my goodness Brandee, if I could ever have the privledge of watching you do a reading conference with a student, I would just eat it up! The bookmarks and ideas are fabulous- thank you!
    Short and Sassy Teacher

  3. Love the zombie metaphor!

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