Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Growing Readers

I typed this post out and clicked something strange and lost 3/4 of it…grrrr…

Here we go again…
I was rereading Growing Readers (clearly the best book ever written for first grade teachers) by Kathy Collins and I thought I’d share my thoughts (not that you asked) about reading preferences in first grade. If you’ve taught longer than 5 minutes you’ve met the teacher pleaser kid. The kid that will deny how she (it’s usually a she)  really feels about something just so they can make you think they are more precious then everyone else.

It always goes down something like this in my room:

Me: We’ve been talking about all different kinds of books. Would it ever be OK for you to not like a book?
Kiddos: Nnnnooooo (a few tentative yesses)
Teacher Pleaser kid: You should always like every book because reading is fun!

In order to create a culture of diverse reading interests in a first grade classroom, I think we may need to actually directly teach the fact that it is OK (and even important) to all have different reading interests.

To drive this home for the kids, I tell them that I do not- under any circumstances- like reading books about dinosaurs. I tell them I will not do read alouds about dinosaurs (unless someone begs) and we won’t read many non-fiction books about them either. I don’t like dinosaurs. I think their names are hard to pronounce, I think they are scary looking, I don’t ever care to read a book about dinosaurs. Now, I know that most six year olds enjoy dinosaurs, so I have a dinosaur tub full of books just waiting to be read by first graders because they will not be read by me. Ever.

After this discussion (which is slightly controversial to the kids who think that teachers love every book ever printed) the kids turn and talk to their neighbor about different reading interests they have. Then we do the following activity.
The kids get a piece of manila paper and fold it into fourths (This is a lesson in itself considering it’s the first week of school!
Unfold the paper and trace over the fold lines so you have four equal parts.
I give each kiddo a strip that says: Who am I as a reader? I just cut the questions apart into strips.
Click here for download.

Then, the kids glue that strip to the middle of the page and then draw and label one thing (in each section) they enjoy reading about. It may say: space, dinosaurs, Junie B. Jones, etc. I promise when we're back in school, my projects will have pictures of the kids's work for you visual learners out there!

We share these with each other and discuss how fun it’s going to be getting to know each other as readers. This is a cute bulletin board display, too. This activity helps kiddos recognize that they are readers and we are going to work together to discover their reading likes, dislikes, and passions!


Christie said...

This is great! I love the idea! I think I'm gonna turn this into a collaborative class book. Thanks for the inspiration!!
Christie :)
First Grade Fever

Busy Bees said...

This sounds like a fun activity. Thanks for sharing.

katherine said...

but i bet you like edwina, the dinosaur who didn't know she was extinct, because it's by mo willems! :)