Slice of Life: Teaching Readers to Feed Themselves

Summer is closing in, and our book stacks and reading plans start to formulate. We teachers can’t wait to soak up a few good reads.

My students have grown as readers. All those books they read this year added up, and they’ve become stronger readers and thinkers. Every year they amaze me with their growth. They’ve had daily access to books and book groups that provided support and accountability. But in a few weeks, the constructs change.  They’ll be away from the classroom, the routine, the friends and the books.  As summer starts, access, support, and accountability all diminish.  Not surprisingly, so does reading.

Every year I try to find a way to keep books in the hands of my students during the summer months. This year I’m focusing on teaching students to find great reads virtually. I want it to be easy to find the books they want. The funny, the scary, the comic books, the guide books, the world’s most disgusting animal books. The Wimpy Kid books, the Captain Underpants books and maybe some books they’d didn’t think they’d like. Summer is a time to read what you want.

Today we started looking for those books. On Goodreads, Amazon and the public library.

I gave some general directions with Google classroom. And they were off.

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Authors, titles and the electronic access to the first few chapters from Amazon offers the ability to book shop just like they do in our library.

Aliza* started with authors we’d read. Dan Gemeinhart, Jason Reynolds, and Peter Brown.

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She clicked on:Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 8.10.07 PM.png

Then the libraries link.

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Amazing. She went on to search for Jason Reynolds and found As Brave as You and the soon to be published Patina.

“Ah…I can’t get Patina till we’re back in school. Man, it’s just like the Wild Robot Returns, that doesn’t come out until October.”

She’d remembered.  I wanted her to put it on a to-be-read list.

“There’s a place here you can ask them to order a book. Can I do that?”

Brilliant and yes!

Next Gabby* found that there was a sequel to Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova.

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The library search turned up books in a different county. Requesting the book was possible but not quite as straight forward. Checking out Amazon she found out more title possibilities.

Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 7.52.33 PM.pngStudents copied titles and authors into their summer reading google doc. Transferring the hyperlinks along with the titles and author names.

And then the bell rang.

We still have time I told them.

“I want this book Mrs. Harmatz. When can I get it?” Jill* said pointing to the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Instead of giving her the copy I have in my cupboard, I showed her how 37 copies were available in her local library. She just had to request it.

Here’s hoping to teach readers how to find their books so they can always feed themselves.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.