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Just right books... mess!
Old 08-26-2011, 05:19 PM
 
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What did I do wrong???? Last year I taught 5th grade and was moved to 2nd this year. So... I went over how to choose "just right books". I had several posters... I modeled right and wrong books, etc. and then...... it was just awful! I have 19 kids. More than 1/2 said they couldn't find any books that were right for them. Many said they were too easy (but I know that they weren't) Then I had some say they were too hard. And then... I had a few students pick out books that were for like 5th grade and they couldn't read them...
What did I do wrong???? I feel like a total failure!!!!


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Old 08-26-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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Is this day 1?
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:27 PM
 
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I waited to start it until the 3rd day of school. What I said in my previous post was talking about what happened the first day I did it. I didn't do it the next day because I don't know what I did wrong. I know for a fact that have a fairly low class. I have 3 students who have been retained and 4 more that are barely reading on a level 3. I would appreciate any help or constructive criticism. I REALLY want to do a good job.
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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How did you explain it? Do you have a wide range of books to select from?
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:45 PM
 
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Have you discussed the "Five-finger rule"? If they miss 5 or more words on the first page or two, it might not be a good book for them?
Also, I would take the really hard (5th grade level) books out of the choices. I would conference with each student and provide a few choices for them. They may need a bit more structure at first. Some kids have to hear it over and over. Others truly have no idea what they can or can't read. Some try to pick books they have seen other classmates or older siblings reading.
Have you read any books about this? Wolf (author's last name Bloom) is great. Goldisocks and the Three Libearians, The Best Book to Read.
Have you done the "good fit" lesson with shoes from the The Daily Five book? Beth Newingham's website has a similar one using three different T-shirts.


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Old 08-26-2011, 05:47 PM
 
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You will have to do many lessons on this. Younger students don't get it the first time through. You might want to sit individually with each child and have them read from the books they chose. Then have them discuss with you their choices. Try to find the book Goldie Socks and the Three Librearians. It talks about right fit books. You might want to even just give them a few books for their book box that are good fit books as examples and so they have some good fit books available. Just keep at it- it just might take it awhile.
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:49 PM
 
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I did the the five finger rule and modeled it for them. I did not do the shoe lesson. Thank you for your suggestions. I will look for those books over the weekend and the shoe lesson from the Daily Five.
THANK YOU!!!!
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I agree with the PPs.
Old 08-26-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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I remember 2nd grade being tough because I had kiddos who struggled with their reading and would choose chapter books even when they weren't ready for them just because they were worried about what other kids would say if they were "caught" with a picture book. For some reason they equate picture books with babies. Yes, do the shoe lesson. That definitely helps too.
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Book to go with the Shoes Lesson
Old 08-26-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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I read a book called "Those Shoes" and do the shoe lesson to help my students understand the importance of picking good fit books.

It honestly doesn't matter what you do. They all will not get it the first day. Conferencing or however you want to manage meeting with your students to make sure they pick good fit books is a must. Second graders especially I notice have a tough time. Some of them are still reading books that are too easy because they feel comfortable with them and some are getting into chapter books without being able to read it. I always have a few students who grab a chapter book because their friend has one or it's the cool thing to do. It's important that you keep revisiting the shoe lesson throughout the year and to stay on top of them.
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agree
Old 08-26-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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I agree that it isn't unusual for second graders to have trouble finding just right books. I explain it multiple times in multiply ways but some just have trouble with it. I use a bike visual--going up a hill, going down a hill, and riding flat and compare it to the books. Just don't feel like a failure--because it takes them awhile to get it! It's not you, it's just harder than we think it is as adults.


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Old 08-26-2011, 08:07 PM
 
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You didn't fail! That's just second graders for you. You can teach it and teach it but the only way I've managed to get them to actually DO it is - during the first several days, I walk from child to child and listen to them read. I teach them that when I get to them they are to just start reading aloud at whatever point they are in the book. I listen and give feedback - just right, too hard - go pick a different book, or too easy - find something your level. It only takes a few seconds per child, so I can get through nearly all the students in that first independent reading session. As I said, I do this for the first several days, but after the first day I can skip over those kids who had a just right book the first time. So then I can get through all of them who have trouble, and I can even help them choose books. If I don't do this, my low readers will simply look at pictures and turn pages. Waste of time.
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Doing fine!
Old 08-26-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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I'm sure you are doing fine! Just keep emphasizing your main points, teach the lesson a different way, and model, model, model. Many kids like to pick "too easy" or "too difficult" books. It doesn't necessarily mean you taught the concept poorly. I found during student that it was very hard for a child to find a "just right" book, but VERY easy for them to find a book that was too easy or too difficult. That was with 5th graders! I'd imagine 2nd graders would have a harder time! They will get the hang of it, though! Just keep modeling and practicing! For awhile, I was going to the school library with my fifth graders to help them pick out a just right book. I modeled my thought process as we looked and looked. Eventually, they did get the hang of it. It takes time, though!
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:29 PM
 
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I agree with the suggestions you have received.
One other thing I do is to somewhat limit my book selection until this skill is a bit more developed.
I, like most teachers have many, many books. I have found primary students can be overwhelmed if all the books are out.
It is a bit easier for them to select a just right book with fewer choices.
I start with a smaller stock of books and continue to add books (after a book promotion / sales pitch ) over the next few weeks once thy get the idea of selecting just right books.

BTW, I love the shoe lesson.
I have also used Goldilocks and the 3 T-Shirts.
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When I did that with a 1/2 class...
Old 08-27-2011, 03:43 AM
 
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I taught the shoe lesson, and the three bears lesson as a whole class, then did small strategy groups for the first few times they were allowed to pick, with carefully selected books that were either WAY too easy, WAY too hard or just right. After they passed that "Test" with me, then they could access the whole classroom library, but still with me there. After about a month, I stopped observing book exchange, but there were 4 kiddos whose book boxes I checked every night (and often had "repicking" time with me in the morning). I scanned the other kids' boxes about once a week, and after my first little kiddo started reading novels, had a heck of a time convincing others that "just because it was right for her, doesn't mean it's right for you!"

It is an ongoing process!
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:17 AM
 
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When I taught second grade I used to meet individually with each student to complete a reading interview. I asked some questions about interests, how they pick books, etc. Then we went to the classroom library together and I told them to pick four books they were interested in reading. Then I picked some books that I thought would be a good match for them. I would tell them why I was picking this book (I know you like soccer, so you will love this book...the main character plays soccer, too!).

It took a long time to do it this way, but I knew that at least some of the books were a good fit and I was modeling how to choose books.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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I put 4-5 books in each child's bag before the first day of school at various levels. Then I try to get to each child for a reading conference (starting with the ones who seem to be struggling) and see what they are drawn to. I can then direct them to the right level or section of the library.

I do the just right book talk maybe the second week after reading behaviors have been discussed? For example, practicing what silent reading looks like.
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You are not alone!
Old 08-27-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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Every year in the library I go over the 5 finger rule with the 2nd graders. I have posters up for them to refer to and I made task cards on Vistaprint with the same rule that I give them to use as book marks. I know the classroom teacher also uses the 5 finger rule. So what happens every year? Someone tries to check out Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea!! Give it time. They eventually get the hang of it!
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Not Until A Month
Old 08-27-2011, 04:11 PM
 
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My children do not have access to the hundreds of books I have in my library because it would be too overwhelming for my third graders. for a month students choose books from a basket of books I choose. I purposely put mostly leveled books for students & I placed very few hard books. Students overtime begin to feel what a just right book is & when I start to add in harder or easy books they start to sift through them easier. It takes a month or more for the students to have a feel or true understanding of what a Just right book is. It is a lesson I have to repeat for a handful of kids & those kids I take into a group to repeat a lesson.
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