Why reinvent the wheel, right? I tell you, some of the simplest things I do in my class tend to be the most profound!
Do you need a way to get your kids excited about reading at home in less than 90 seconds?!? If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. This book is amazing and offers many ideas how to get your students to not only read, but also motivating them to love reading.
After reading the The Book Whisperer, I dove in feet first and got rid of whole class novels. Instead, I demanded that my students read what they love, and read like crazy. I demanded that they read at home, in school, on vacations, in the car, WHENEVER and WHEREVER THEY CAN! I also try to schedule read-to-self time for pure pleasure as much as I can. I tell you it’s profound.
Two years ago, I got rid of reading logs for many of the same reasons you want to — my kids weren’t really reading, the parents were signing weeks in advance, I was spending too much time grading, and students were rushing through and faking them. But how was I going to keep track of my students at-home reading without reading logs?! GASP!
Alas…*drum-roll please* “Status of the Class.” The textbook version of “Status of the Class” is that it is a quick, routine check-in with each student on a daily basis. It takes no more than 90 seconds and is a great opportunity to check in on your students and make a quick one-on-one connection/assessment. I adapted it to fit my needs and the needs of the kids in my classroom. Click HERE to grab this freebie.
Implementing in Your Classroom: An Easy “How-To”
- Instruct students to grab their reading binders to come to the carpet for a mini-lesson.
- Have the “Status of the Class” list ready. (I have it on a clipboard near my mini-lesson area or project it on the overhead)
- Start with your first student and call out their name (before your mini-lesson).
- Have the student respond back with the current book they are reading and the page number they are on (go down the list until you’ve called every student).
- Write an “N” for new, if they finished their previous book (students will tell you this).
- Write an “A/N” for abandoned/new, if they have a new book but it’s because they abandoned their previous book (students will tell you this).
AND THAT’S IT. The whole list is typically read in 90 seconds flat. Then I get to start my mini-lesson and check in on those kids that need checking in on. Seriously, in those 90 seconds I get more valuable information than I could ever get from any reading log.
What “Status of the Class” shows you:
- Who is reading at home
- Who is “faking it” –examples to look for–
- Students with books way above reading level
- Tons of pages in a day or large discrepancies in pages read
- Constant abandoning
- Who keeps abandoning books
- Who needs help finding books at their level.
It’s like a mini “touch-base” conference with every student every day. The crazy part is, my students BEG to do “Status of the Class” (perhaps they are treating it like a competition? Or finally loving reading??). I kid you not. At first, I would roam the class and go up to students individually and they quietly told me their pages, then all of a sudden it’s like they all met together and decided once and for all that they wanted to do it out loud.
I’m happy to report that (at least) two of my reluctant readers have already finished two books for the first time in their lives, and THEY’RE the ones BEGGING to do Status of the Class if I ever forget!!! PRAISE THE LORD! I am not sure if it’s the accountability but the excitement they have is phenomenal!
I included a copy of the checklist I use in my class for you. Click above to grab the google doc. I promise you will love it and it will change the reading attitudes in your classroom! Has anyone else tried something like this before? I’d love to hear if you do something like this in your room!