Here's what I did...which is not exactly what the sisters do:
Well, I started with the shoe lesson b/c I love it and it worked great! The kids were so engaged. However, after it was over and we had our IPICK chart, I had a kid model the right way and then the wrong way/right way. They enjoyed that. Now, here is what I did different...I sent them all off to find a good fit book. We didn't have time to do all our dailies that day and it was a bit chaotic for a short time, but they were SO EXCITED to find that there were books in our classroom library that were a good fit for them. I sent them off to find a good fit book and told them when they had it to sit on the carpet and read it. They did this beautifully and I did have a few that picked books that they could not read so I quickly conferenced with them and told them to pick a different book (nicely, of course). Anyway, within 15 minutes they all had a good fit book to add to their book bins. Then we went into read to self. That was all we had time for that day, but it was worth it in my opinion. I felt my group neeed the immediate practice opportunity. I wish I could tell you how the next day went but I got sick with the flu that night and have been out the past 3 days. ...
I set up my classroom library similiar to how the sisters set their's up...with the baskets and books numbered. I teach a 1st/2nd combo and last year I did a lot w/ leveled books and kids picking from their leveled basket. Well, one of my 2nd graders thought the numbers matched the level of the books in the basket and was very upset that he was in the 12's while the first graders were in the 32's...I set him straight, but he was seriously concerned about his reading ability for a second. Then, he realized that the book EVERYONE wanted to read (but couldn't and therefore wasn't a good fit book for them) was a good fit for him. He ended up being everyone's hero
Loggerteacher, this is another sidenote, but what made you decide to change how you organize your library?? Now that you've done both, what do you like better? Can your students easily find just right books even though they're not levelled?? Thanks in advance fore your response!
I had another teacher (instructional coach) come into my classroom for the IPICK/shoe lesson. Afterwards we split the class-she took half and I took half to help them choose at least a couple good-fit books (first grade). If you can find someone to come in-it really is helpful.
Everyday since then I have had children come to the front with a book and we go through the chart together in front of the class. We go through each part of IPICK as I guide them to determine if it's a good book. I ask the purpose for choosing the book, if they are interested in it, have them read a page to see if they know most of the words, and then have them read a page and check for understanding to see if they can comprehend. If the answer is "yes" to each, we then talk about it being a good fit book. If the answer is "no" we talk about finding a good fit book and using that particular book to read the pictures.
At this early stage in the year I do not expect every book in their book bins to be good fit, but I do expect that 3-5 are.
The modeling everyday (and more than once a day) really helped my class last year, so I'm thinking it will help this year as well.
After doing the I Pick lesson I also had 3 other adults in the room so we helped them to quickly find good fit books. After a day or two I was sitting with a child and reviewing the books in his book box (none of which were a good fit). I asked him to read from one of them and after a bit of struggling I gently asked him if this was a good fit. When we got C and K he looked confused. He said, "Well I may not know most of the words, but I can read the pictures...see just like you told us on this poster of three ways to read a book." He was "Reading the Pictures" on ALL of his books because that is the way he like to read best! It's been a bit of work to get him to try the other ways...I have to confer with him daily, but I am hoping we are getting there.
I decided to redo my library this year because I had SO MANY books that children were never getting to read b/c it wasn't 'their' level. Also, in 1st grade, so many of the books at their level are not good literature. I still have a small section of my library leveled which I use for a take home book program that I have parent volunteers run. I also have a teacher section of my library that has my leveled books I use for teaching.
I am LOVING not having my library leveled because the kids are getting to 'read' such amazing books. They are finding authors themselves that interest them. For example, one student recently found the Steven Kellogg tub and has several of his books in his book bin. He loves 'reading' the pictures. This student even asked if we could do an author study on him. To hear first graders ask me for book recommendations based on author as opposed to 'their level' is so much more authentic in my opinion. Yes, I still want them to have several good fit 'read the words' books in their bins, but I can help them with that based on the ones in my library and the ones I give them from my teacher leveled library.
I don't have a ton in my classroom library that are easy readers, so I've been pulling a few from my take home leveled library and putting them into the correct baskets for the students to 'find' I also plan to purchase a bunch from scholastic and put them in the classroom library as opposed to the leveled take home library, which I was doing last year.
Another side note--during my IPICK lesson I also had my para in the room helping. She was able to conference with kids and keep them on task. I think having another person helping is important, depending on your class size (I have 19 kids).
Thank-up so mcuh for your response! Your decision makes complete sense. I totally understand not having enough books at grade 1 level and the ones we do have aren't great literature....That confirms for me how I'll organize my books (by category). Of course the trick is to be able to find good fit books for those struggling readers when they need help with book selection.
I'm a newbie at D5/CAFE, but I do have a few non-readers in my class (the rest are begining readers..avg first graders), so this is what I do, although I am not sure it is what the sisters or veteran D5ers would do: For my non readers that need really basic books that I don't have in my library I"ve made giving them a book a special moment between us. When I saw them searching I called them over and said I had a new book that I hadn't put in the library yet. I thought they might enjoy. It is one of my level 1's and I quickly show them how the text and pictures match and send them off. Yes, I know they didn't 'find' their good fit book as much as I found it for them, but they have enough going on in my opinion. They'll get there. Also, I have a whole basket of the Scholastic I Spy books..those are great for beginning readers b/c the pictures match the words exactly. My kids felt a lot of success with those. Are they the best literature? Nope...but the kids are choosing a book they know they can read and find success with, and I can get on board with that any day.
Last edited by loggerteacher; 09-26-2009 at 07:14 AM..
Reason: confusing parts...
I've never leveled my library, but I once long term subbed for a teacher with a leveled library. It was so limiting for the children to only choose books from their level. And really, it's okay for children to read books one or two levels below, and some books that are one level above would be okay too. Because she was coming back before the year ended, I did not want to change the system she had in place. However I did check out many many books from the library to give the children more selection. They were very excited about that.
Young children who are learning to read will naturally move away from reading the pictures and want to read the words. I see that throughout the year in first grade. As they are becoming better readers, they truly want to find those good fit books which enable them to read the words.
I do have baskets of books that are leveled (although the level isn't listed on the book), and they have learned that they can choose some books from there, and more than likely they will be good fit books. I sometimes find that this time of year can be challenging with having enough good fit books for beginning readers. I always love about the middle point of the year when most children CAN read books from the classroom library.
At the beginning I read about 5 books a day-to model strategies, read aloud, and to fill the time if needed. I try to pick some very simple and repetitive books with obvious picture clues as well that I know most of my students can read if they've at least heard the story once. I have a bin of "books we've read together". This really helps introduce many different books to them.
Thank you for supporting the "unleveled" approach to arranging a class library. I've always organized my library in baskets with author collections, non-fiction books, class favorites, seasonal favorites, etc. Within each basket are a variety of levels - while not exactly something for everyone, at least a good variety of levels. I also have several baskets of books I've called "ready, "set" and "go" - these are the collections of leveled readers. Children choose their independent reading from anywhere in the room - leveled and unleveled books. I select, or help guilde, the books chosen for student book boxes - these are the books that we use for targeted instruction and reading practice. I also allow students to keep books from our previous basal series in their desks. We use this old basal for "shared" reading when an appropriate text can be used. These books are "on level" for the most part and even tho we disliked the series when we had to teach it, most of the stories are easy for first graders to read and students even seem to like them. (They are also very happy when they can read the stories and poems all by themselves.)
Levels have a purpose, but sometimes the stories just don't capture the students' interests.
My first strategy group last year were my kids who could not pick out a just right book. They were below grade level readers trying to read books that were way too hard, so we make a strategy group for "reading the words." They were reading the pictures in the harder books, but couldn't read the words.
I introduced a basket of books that were brand new, not in the regular classroom library. Told them these were their special tools for practicing reading the words. There were a variety of GR levels in the box, but more limited than the big library. So they still had some work to do to find a good fit, but it was much easier.
They loved it. Very proud of being able to read the words and tell others that these were their special tools for reading. Eventually it was their job, when they were picking good fit books on their own, to sort them into the larger classroom library (based on author or genre) so they could be shared by the rest of the class and returned to themselves, and they were proud of that too.
When I packed the library last June, I kept them out again. We'll see if anyone needs them this year!