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What My Students Are Reading: February February 24, 2012

Posted by ccbooks in Classroom Books.
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The year is flying by, and every time I look up, I realize another month has gone by without me noticing. For example, this blog post was originally titled ‘What My Students Are Reading: January’ and then it languished on my posts page until it was already February!

We’re hitting the “I can’t find anything to read…” point in the year. My class has spent enough time in the classroom that they claim they A. have  read everything in my library or B. can’t find anything they like. So out come a few secret weapons!

Secret Weapon #1: NEW GRAPHIC NOVELS

I always hold back about 5-6 of my really exciting graphic novels to hand out this time of year. It’s a good way to boost the confidence of some of my lower readers (“Look! I have this book just for you!”) and usually after one student reads it, it starts making the rounds of everyone else. Right now, Rapunzel’s Revenge is the book of choice. They love the crazy antics of Punzie and Jack so much that I just bought the companion Calamity Jack (Shhhh…don’t tell them!).

Secret Weapon #2: READING PASSPORTS

Every year, I order these little folders through my reading specialist that are called Reading Passports. They are made of glossy cardstock and have ten different categories of books. I tell the students that if they read one book in each category, they will earn a prize at the end of the year. This is a good way to get reluctant readers energized about reading and it encourages my strong readers to expand their reading and try some new genres. As a result, non-fiction reading is more common and some titles, such as Seymour Simon’s Stars and the National Geographic Ancient Egypt have been getting more circulation.

Secret Weapon #….oh never mind.

I don’t have any more secret weapons. My not-so-secret weapon is my persuasive powers. Nine times out of ten, I can get a student reading a book (at least for a little while) by giving short summaries of three to five books and letting them pick what looks interesting. Right now, I have students reading an old favorite, Gypsy Rizka which is probably my favorite Lloyd Alexander book outside of the Prydain Chronicles. I also have a student reading a new favorite, Anna Hibiscus, which is set in Africa and combines a fascinating setting with a charming family story.

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