To jump-start a successful year in reading, I make my first lesson “a good fit book” discussion. In order for students to continue to excel and challenge themselves in reading, it is crucial to be able to correctly identify when a book is of interest to them, is not too easy, but is not outside their reading comprehension. This lesson is so important that I wanted to share with both my second and third grade students, but implemented in different ways.
In second grade, we started our lesson by taking off all of our shoes. I joked with the students that I really liked their shoes, so I thought maybe I would wear one of their pairs of shoes. I then asked them to try putting on each other’s shoes. They thought this was really silly! We then discussed why we could not wear high heels to play sports or ski boots to the beach. The second graders reached the conclusion that shoes have to be the right fit and also for the right purpose. We connected this to reading such as if we wanted to research bears we could not read the Berenstain Bears because it is a fictional book. In addition, even if I love reading about magic not every book about magic is a book I can read independently – yet! The students then practiced identifying good fit books and adding them to their reading buckets.
In third grade, I called on one student in each class that said they enjoyed math. For the purpose of this lesson I first gave the student a board counting book (used for the CDO and 2’s). The students of course laughed and recognized the book was too easy. I teased that they said they liked math, but the students identified that even a book of interest to them might not be a good fit book as it could be not challenging. I then gave the student who enjoys math a copy of one of my graduate school textbooks about school budgeting. Once again, they found this hilarious when I continued to tease about loving math. They correctly identified that the book was too difficult for them to currently comprehend. To extend on this lesson I asked them if they thought I would rather read this textbook or Harry Potter. They agreed that I would of course rather read for pleasure, but I reminded them that sometimes we do not always get to choose exactly what we read. However, it is important to use our taught reading strategies to be successful readers with every book we open.
At Meet the Teacher I asked parents to share their own jobs, hobbies, or interests and why they have to read to be successful in these areas. I then shared this information to the students to show them that we continue to read even outside of school and we read all different types of literature for different purposes. Thank you to all of the parents who helped contribute to jump-starting an amazing year in Reader’s Workshop!
Second & Third Grade English Language Arts Teacher