Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Response to Reading

Response to reading is so important but can be overwhelming.  Between finding what works for you, making sure your kiddos are getting everything they need out of it, and keeping track of it all,  you can easily feel like it's the only thing you teach (when in fact you have 5 more  subjects to manage as well).  I wanted to share some ideas that I've been trying and tell you about how they're going.

For quite some time, our district has been using the "fancy" Fountas and Pinnell Reader's Notebooks.  I was very excited to get these when they were first presented to us, but I've come to find most of them fluff and, quite frankly, a waste.  I love the premise of them, but they're just not realistically used (in my classroom).  I spend so much time after school with those thick notebooks reading through, grading, or writing letters back to students.  There was even a time that I lugged several home at once--BACK BREAKERS!  If your district uses these religiously, or something similar, I'd highly recommend putting your students on a turn-in rotation schedule.  I used this with my 28-29 student classes.  We were on a two week rotation and I had 3-4 students that had to turn their notebooks in on a specific day.  That way I could easily know which students I had seen or not, and I knew that I always had 3-4 notebooks to go through before heading home--this was always first on my list once students were on the bus so I didn't have to take them home.


I've since moved to using/trying a combination of things--Biblionasium, Who's Reading, and Google Docs.


Biblionasisum is a fun site that allows you to set your class up, and students log reading and review books.  I like Biblionasium because it's free (unless you want specific upgraded options), easy to use, and web-based so I could quickly check things from home if necessary.  My students needed virtually no help figuring it out even from the get-go!  Once we got everyone logged in, they were pretty much up and running.  Badges can be given by the teacher for students as they log reading which students enjoyed.  We did encounter some lagging when students wanted to log books at school after reading block as well as when they entered their own titles--namely nonfiction.  This led me to pursue a different option.


We use Google Docs often, so while I want hunting down my next online option, I had students create their own "Reading Response" folder in their Google Drives and share it with me.  They completed several reading responses using a template that we made together.  I really liked this option because I could easily check on students throughout the day when there was time (ha!), after school,  or from home.  The hardest part of this for the students was the "no frills"/no reward feeling it had.  These are 21st century learners that love and need constant rewards for actions....on to the next.


Who's Reading is the latest & greatest in my classroom.  It runs similarly to Biblionasium but the students earn coins on their own for logging books and completing challenges.  These coins can then be spent on items to customize their avatars on the site.  My kids LOVE this and are more motivated than ever to get on to the site.  Students can write reviews or comment on their books.   This is, again, easy for me to use when checking in on students since it is web-based.  When logging into the dashboard, I get a quick view of who's been on and who hasn't.  One quick check right before the bell rings in the morning and I am ready for some conversations with kiddos that have been working hard or haven't been on at all.


A new love of mine is Seesaw.  I've been having students do some fluency reads for me and have even recorded a reading response for me--both video and written forms--just to try it out!  The nice things about this is that students can see each other's posts and comment on them.  I think it's a great thing for them to hear each other read aloud.




I saw this poster on Pinterest and thought it'd be fun for students to use it but put the coach's remarks in the comment section of Seesaw for their partner.



Nothing is more important to me than maximizing my time so that my students can get everything they need for the short amount of time that they're with me.  Using something that motivates them and that's easily managed for me is imperative.  I can keep a quick tally of students that are logging reading and apply that work to their weekly reading effort grade then spend a little longer reading a paragraph or two from each student weekly that contains their thoughts on a current read.


What do you do with your students that keeps them engaged, motivated, accountable, and is trackable?  I'd love to hear about it!

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