Refocusing on Reading Behaviors

When I start the school year, one of the first things I tackle with my students is “reading behaviors”–how we function within our reader’s workshop so that we maximize our own reading and don’t disrupt those around us.  We talk about just right books…about stamina…about thinking while we read.  From the very first week, we work to build these good habits so that we can get TONS of reading done–and so I can work with students individually or in small groups while others are working and reading productively.
So…why am I blogging about this in DECEMBER?  Here’s the simple truth.  
We have gotten lazy.
Much of November was focused on informational text reading and I stopped doing status regularly…I lost the continuity of always knowing what students were reading, how much they were reading, and HOW they were reading.  Gradually I have started to see reading behaviors, focus, and stamina slip–and it’s time to regroup!  We revisited some of the same expectations we did in the first weeks…how to make good book choices, what it means to read with “stamina”, what to do when you are getting distracted, and more.  (Click here to see the resource that helps guide me to start the year).
In addition, I retrained MYSELF to start doing anecdotal records and status of the class every day–to keep us all more in touch with what is happening.  My round of book clubs is over, our information text studies are nearly finished–so it’s time to rebuild some of those good habits!
I LOVE my calendar system to do this…it is one of the few organization systems that actually works for me in my classroom!  Here’s what I do…each day as students are getting settled in, I call out each child’s name.  They tell me what they are reading and what page they are on.  I may quickly ask them a question about the book…like
“Are you enjoying it?”
“Have you read other books in that series?”
“Who else do you think might like that book?”
“When do you think you will finish it?”  (perfect for students I really need to keep on track!)
The entire process takes about 10 minutes TOPS and by the time I am finished, I have done 25 mini conferences, I know where my students are in their reading, and everyone should be nicely settled into their place so I can either pull a small group or start conferring one-on-one with students.
 I use the calendars to track their reading–and to track any notes I take when I confer with them.
I can even mark words they struggled with…whether or not they are self-correcting…and even comments about what I am noticing about their reading behaviors.
 To keep ME focused, I use 6 post it tabs.  I put them on the first six students’ pages.  After I confer with that child, I move the tab to the next blank page–that way I make sure I see all students before repeating.  That being said, I have some students I want to meet with more often.  I use a different colored tab for them and then meet with them first.  That way I make sure to meet with them daily before I begin my conferring “rotation”.
 So…are your students in need of a little refresher in  some of these areas?  I want to build these habits back up so that December can be productive–there are enough distractions already!  
Here is my calendar system…I update it with new calendars each year so you don’t need to buy it again.
Many people were buying the calendars and reading logs together–so I bundled them to save money.
It’s never too late to “restart” the year–I sure had to!
Have a great week, everyone!