SOL: Reading Remnants

My students’ last day was on Friday, but their presence lingers.

I find post-its. Tracks of their thinking. The remnants of students.

I notice which books are missing. Sets of four have been reduced to three, partnerships to one copy. Graphic novels are missing. I imagine those books on the bedside tables of my students, in their hands before bedtime, when they wake up and maybe before dinner.

I take a pile of books to the office. Henry and Mudge, Magic Tree House, Poppleton, and Amelia Bedelia books. My fifth graders finally cleaned out their bookshelves and looked under their beds. These books represent years of reading at our school and tells me about the hundreds of words they have read before they come to fifth grade.

My students are gone. Off to summer and then middle school lives. But fortunately, their thoughts about reading are with me.

Just before the end of the school year, I along with my Voxer Good to Great friends Donna Donner, Jennifer Snaidecki, Dani Burtsfield, surveyed students about their reading habits.

In my classroom, there were some clear trends:

Students choose books based on their interest not, their reading level.
Students put books back when they found the book wasn’t a good fit.
Two-thirds of the students said having the choice of books helped them grow as a reader.
The majority liked reading with friends.
Most were surprised by the amount of reading they did this year.

The following responses I share with you as highlights. Short answers that show glimpses of my students’ attitudes about reading.

well now if there is something don’t understand I will take my time to understand it and now I don’t rush through the book also I take notes on my wonderings and the big ideas in the book.

what surprised me about my reading this year is that I used to only liked to read fiction books and now I like to read nonfiction and now I read a variety of different books

I am proud of how many books I’ve read this school year I was indeed impressed

I am most proud of when I saw something was coming in the book and got it right

I’m surprised by how interesting the books are.

I learned that some books are REALLY boring, and I learned that you can just get a new book you really like.

What surprised me this year about being a reader was that as I am reading more I grow more fluent.

Responses to what advice would they give to incoming 5th-grade students told a lot about what they thought mattered most.

Choose books wisely don’t just look in the cover look inside

Never rush through books, and don’t read a book you don’t like, and always tell your partner (or club) if you don’t like a book.

Try to read different genres of books that you haven’t tried here and there, but you can stick to the same books you like, even a series. But I wasn’t able to do that so I recommend doing that.

I would say that always write about your reading and don’t pick a book you might not like.

Read everyday and take jots everyday trust me it helps a lot.

Read the back of the books and see if u think u might like it before reading

Writing about reading has been difficult for students. When asked about it, many said they didn’t like it. But in response to the question, does writing about reading help you, the majority said it helped. They don’t like if but it helps. Interesting.

Not really. But it does help me keep track of what happened before if I haven’t read the book in a while.

Yes, Because, it helps me realize how i’m doing as a reader if i’m paying attention or not.

Writing long like a summary helps me sometimes like just realize what happened or an important thing I did not realize

Yes and No because sometimes you have to stop at a point you really like,and it ruins the moment.

Hmmm. They sound like readers.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. For providing a space for sharing our thoughts. Read more slices here.






11 thoughts on “SOL: Reading Remnants

  1. There is no question that reading was central to your classroom this year. Your students learned to be readers and to appreciate choice. Is there a plan for the results of your survey?

  2. The reading trail is a powerful one, isn’t it? I often wonder what it would be like if, instead of introducing themselves to us, the kids wrote a list of the books they read and stuck with and loved.

  3. I love when I find post-its in books – it wonderful to read their thoughts. I used to take them out and now I leave them for other readers to find and read. Over the years some books have the tracks of many readers left in them — students love it. I love reading the reflections of your students — so powerful. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Love their reading reflections! If you don’t mind, I might borrow a few to put into a presentation on why choice matters. When kids speak, we need to sit up and pay attention.

  5. We will be doing this on Monday – our last Monday of the school year. Such interesting responses, Julieanne – and now to rethink next year with this information.

  6. It is so wonderful to read the reflections. An evidence of a community of readers that you have guided and nudged and celebrated.

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