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ellie523 07-20-2010 07:35 AM

Just Right Books
How do you teach choosing a "just right" book in the beginning of the year? I am moving up to 5th from 2nd and am starting to feel like my tried and true 2nd grade lessons/strategies are too babyish.

Also, as upper elementary students encounter longer and more complex texts, how do you keep them from abandoning them as they get challenging? Again, I think my approach is going to have to change.

Any advice? TIA!

kay/5 07-20-2010 08:34 AM

5 Finger Rule
I teach my kids the 5 finger rule for choosing books. We discuss abandoning books and we usually decide as a class that they need to read at least the first 50 pages before they abandon the book.
I think you'll be surprised by 5th graders. My kids still love the babyish things. They're at the age were they want to be big kids but don't want to give up being the little kids either!

GreyhoundGirl 07-20-2010 09:46 AM

I do IPICK and I tell them only 2 mistakes per page. I do a whole thing about shoes and how I choose certain shoes for certain events--it's kind of fun.

The problem I'm running into is that kids don't know when they have made mistakes so they think they're picking a "just right" book, but they're not.

Also, with 5th grade, they want to pick books that are big and huge even if those aren't the books they should be reading (the exact opposite problem pp has :rolleyes:)

curlygirl2 07-21-2010 03:19 AM

not easy
1 Attachment(s)
I tell my kids 5 parts that are confusing to them by reading just a couple of pages.. agree that it's hard for them to catch their mistakes, but if you phrase it to them as "confusing" parts, it's easier to can be not understanding a character''s motives, who's speaking, what a word means... I think in the younger grades the 5 finger rule means words they don't know, and I feel that in the upper grades we need to change that 5 finger rule since they are older...

I also compare it to weight lifting... when you lift light weights, your muscles are not growing at all, you can become bored... and when you lift too heavy weights you are also frustrated and it's too hard and you will not want to continue with it, but just the right weight will help you see changes in your body, just like a just right book will help your reading muscles grow! It's a great comparison that kids really get. I also have a bookmark I it is!

ellie523 07-21-2010 08:42 AM

Wow! Thanks!
It's great to know that my usual tricks will still work with 5th graders. I have used IPICK and the 5 finger rule in the past so I feel more confident using this with my new students.

curlygirl: I LOVE the idea of changing it to 5 confusing parts. In my experience with the intermediate grades, often times fluent readers aren't aware of the comprehension pieces they are missing. Your approach (and your fabulous bookmark) were just what I was looking for. Thank you!

AtTheGrove 07-22-2010 06:20 PM

Choosing a "Just Right" Book
I give the kids a sheet for their reading folders....(did this in 4th and plan to in 5th)

The info is usually in a three column format...I model choosing a book to show them how to use the sheet...they eventually get the hang of it.

Too Easy
*you can read the words smoothly and with an interesting voice

*there often are not a lot of words on a page

*you know how to say all the words

*there are not a lot of pages in the book

*you have a lot of schema for the subject

*sometimes the book has a larger font

*your thinking comes easy as you read the words.

Just Right

*you can read most of the words

* you can understand what you are reading

*you enjoy the book

*you may have some schema for the subject

* you can read the book with smooth fluency, but there are some choppy places

*your reading rate is just right-
not too fast and not too slow

*you can figure out the tricky words and still get the meaning of the story.

*many of the words are too hard to figure out

*you donít know what the tricky words mean

*your reading becomes choppy, more than it is smooth and fluent

*you donít have any schema about the subject

*there are often a lot of words on the page

*often the font is small

*you lose focus as you are reading

*your thinking is confused

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