Sunday, November 24, 2013

What's in your book bin?

I read a lot of books on how to teach reading.  One of the interesting topics that I always find is how to set up independent reading.  How long should it be?  What materials should the kids have access to?  How much thinking work should they be doing?  How much reading work should they be doing?  The list goes on and on.  Recently in one text I read they said that the students should have 10-12 books at their level and then half way through the week they should switch with their reading partner.  That blew me away.

Today I am going to share the items and tools in my students book bins.  They spend 25 to 30 minutes in them independently.  Then they go and meet up with their partner and read for another 15-20 minutes.

At the bottom of this page I have support materials for you that have been on my blog before but just in different posts!
Each child in my room has one of these bins (either green or blue).  

I have a rotating wheel that is labeled with special seats in the room like our stuffed horse, chairs, stools, crates, etc.  Every other day the kids get to sit in a special seat, other days it's just the floor.  

Each child has a shopping day in my classroom (Student names are on the bags for each day of the week).  They are allowed to select 5 books at their level.  Right now is our informational unit.  Unfortunately it is hard to find rich informational books at their level.  The kids are picking just right books from our class nonfiction library.

Each child has Reading Notebook.  I only have them do thinking work in it several times a week because I want them spending time reading.  The work they do is just like the mini-lesson we have done in class only in their just right text.

Support Materials: 
This is a strategy card to help them when they come to tricky words or parts.  If it doesn't make sense they look below that owl for the things they can do to solve it (Look at the pictures or Guess).  

Each child has a library card to tell their level for each month.  This helps them when book shopping.  I usually do a running record when I notice growth within a level and if they move up I write in a new level.  We also stop as a class and cheer :)

This was a Chart Chums poster that I slightly changed.  I printed one for each child to keep in their book bin to help them with Post-It thinking.

These are their small wonder books.  They write the questions they really want to know and when they find the answer they record it.

I took the Inspired Apple's anchor chart and cut it up (on the computer with the snipping tool) and rearranged it to be a bookmark.

Each child has a list of high frequency words at their reading level from Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project.  The words they can read are highlighted through and the words to work on have a dot by them.  During small groups, I occasionally assess them to see where they are at.

This is a fluency bookmark to help them give feedback to their partners.  They give one thing they did really well and one thing to work on.

The last resource is not my own.  I printed out two Chart Chums charts, tried to recreate them and made copies for each child in my class.  The kids pasted them into the front of their notebook and whenever I see them off task I say, "Look in your notebook at private reading then fix it." 

Resources for you!
Just click the picture or link to download

Guided Reading pack
This one breaks down what I do while the kids are independently reading :)

And here is my true calling according to a child in my class....a mermaid!  Wouldn't that be lovely!!  I think I might even be in charge of the sea :)  He also put my niece in the drawing...I love him!

Enjoy your day!


  1. Fabulously helpful post! I love reading what works in other classrooms - especially when it comes to primary reading skills!

    I have pinned it for future reference :)

    Mindful Rambles

  2. I LOVE your library card idea! I used to just use post-it notes, which were kind of boring. My second graders would have loved this. 10 books seems like a lot of books for a little one. I used to do about 5 books for each kid, depending on their reading level and stamina. Great post!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  3. I agree with Sara about the library card idea. That is great! Loved seeing what your students have in their baskets!
    Conversations in Literacy

  4. This is great and informative information. Thanks for sharing this useful post.