It’s such a simple thing, really.
Near our group reading/ lesson area, I post a piece of chart paper. Of course one of the first things we do as a class is read a book together. Choosing which book to share first with my new, slightly nervous young community is something I struggle with every year, because there are so many excellent choices. I spread all of my favorite Back to School books out over the first week or so.
Immediately following our first shared story, I write the title on the chart paper and explain that we will be keeping track of all the books we read together (our read alouds). This immediately generates some excitement. How many books will we read today? How many books will we read all year? The students immediately begin making ridiculous guesses, and I let them. They eagerly look forward to our next book together, AND they always remind me to write the title on the list!
*Keep reading for a link for some freebie signs for your display!
Why do I do this?
1. It encourages literacy.
2. It shows our accomplishments.
3. Students love to read the list for fun, but also for any “read the room” or “word hunt” activities.
4. It helps me decipher the requests that students later have, when looking for a favorite title. (Student with big sparkly eyes: “Can I read that book that we read with the big mean rat and the rabbit?” Teacher takes deep breath….: “Well let’s look at the list…. oh was it Listen Buddy?”)
5. We can occasionally stop and make better estimates of how many books we will read by the end of the year.
6. I can look back at the list when planning for the following year. Do I want to obtain more copies? Were there books I had to order from other schools that I want to own myself?
7. Because I loop between first and second grade, I can see what we’ve read the year before. There is great value in rereading text, but it’s nice to announce that we are rereading a title before all the little voices point that fact out to me.
1. I alternate between two colors for writing the titles, to help with readability. You could choose to use different colors to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction, or even multiple colors for each genre. Some upper grade teachers I know have separate lists for each genre. Another option is to reread the list as a class each time you introduce a new genre, and then ‘code’ those titles with an initial or symbol.
2. Once I fill a page with titles, I use blue tape to put a second page over the first one, and keep listing. This way, we always see the current titles that we’ve read most recently. If you have oodles of wall space, you could display them all.
3. A few times a year, we display all the pages, so we really see and feel our accomplishments as well as show off a bit to the rest of the school. When we get to the 100 book mark, they go in the hallway temporarily with a sign. Then we put out all the pages again at the end of the year. It is very impressive to everyone walking past our classroom. It also gives me something easy to stick out there, instead of the very bare walls that appear that last week of school. They can stay up until even after the students have gone, and then they can all be wadded up and put in the recycling bin.
4. Decide whether or not you want to keep an ongoing typed list as well for future planning. I just keep a Word or Google document ready and add to it when we fill another page.
HERE is a freebie set of signs you can use throughout the year for your own book list display! Download it for free from Teachers Pay Teachers.
Good luck! I hope this idea helps you to become better every year!