I just finished putting in my first Scholastic Order of the year. After 2 years of working as a Literacy/Numeracy Coach, this truly is a momentus occasion. Once of my most favourite things to do is order new books for the classroom!
My colleague, Amy, shared a great idea with me. She suggested that I start a "Scholastic Wishlist". The kids thought this was a great idea, so they listed all of the books that they would like to get from Scholastic, but couldn't afford. Using my coupons, (over the years I've managed quite a collection), I was able to order more than half of the books on their list. I can't wait to see their faces when their orders come in! I love ordering from Scholastic because their selection is so good, their books are affordable, they are so easy to deal with, and their "Free Picks" and Coupons are awesome! They really help you to build up your classroom library quickly!
I love placing my orders through their Clubs Online. It is so easy and convenient. And no, I don't work for Scholastic, but I do love their website. They have great teaching resources on there as well.
Several of my boys claimed that they are not readers and don't like reading. In June, in anticipation of my move back into the classroom, I ordered a series of books called Orca Currents. These novels are high-interest low-vocab books. I find that they really appeal to boys. They are short, so kids who have not yet developed reading stamina can get through them quickly, and although they are written at a lower reading level (Grade 2, 3 and 4 levels) they deal with contemporary issues that would interest 11, 12, and 13 year olds. They are also written by well-known and well-loved authors like Eric Walters. Not only that, but the covers are great. We made a list of how we choose books, and we decided that YES, WE DO JUDGE BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS! My boys are LOVING them!
As you may have guessed, my classroom library is now fully operational. The students organized it all themselves, as planned, so they know where any book can be found.
Today I started conferencing with individual students about their reading. I started with the students who had low scores on our benchmark reading assessment. Even though we have had several lessons on how to choose an appropriate book I find that at least half of my students don't seem to realize when a book is just way too difficult for them. It's no wonder they don't like reading! I mean, would you like skating if every pair of skates you ever wore were too big!
For our Reading Conference, I always ask the students to "Bring me a book you read well". Then I ask them to say why they chose the book, what it is about, and whether it is easy, hard, or just right for them. Then I do an "over-the-shoulder miscue analysis" as they read a page aloud. Then we usually have a discussion about their strenghts, and set some goals for what they need to work on. With my low readers, I usually then take them to the class library to help them select a new book. They really need to be explicitly taught how to find a book that they can read and enjoy! They are always amazed to find out that wow, they really can enjoy reading if the book is a good fit!