celebrating reading

if you’re a teacher who uses the writing workshop model, chances are that you build a day into your writing unit of study for a celebration. celebrating is an important part of the writing process – and a step that we include on our writing process anchor chart. while there are, of course, plenty of types of writing that never get shared with anyone beside the writer, celebrating the work we’ve done and sharing our writing with others is important. it gives us a chance to reflect on our work and acknowledge the work and growth we’ve done as writers. it also helps to make our writing more purposeful, as the celebration is often the first chance to share the writing with its audience.

but, what of reading?

we believe that reading work and reading growth is also something to be celebrated, and that time needs to be built into our reading units of study for this just as it is for writing.

this post is the first in a series that will share some ways that we celebrate reading work in our class. here are the different ways that we most often invite our students to reflect, celebrate, and share their reading work with one another (we’ll add links to the posts here as they’re published):

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a book club performing a scene that revealed one of the themes in the book they read during our book club celebration.

it’s important to note that not all of these need to happen at the end of a unit of study. in fact, we’d argue that ongoing reflection and celebration is more valuable and more important than one single day at the end of a unit. that said, we think it’s also important to have something to bookend work that students have done across weeks, especially when moving to a unit of study that’s really different (like moving from a fantasy to a nonfiction reading unit of study, for example), and so many of these could be used within a unit or at the end of a unit.

the first way to celebrate that we’ll focus on in this post is time reflecting with a partner.

we’ve found the most success in having our students do regular reflection, and when it’s been hard for us to remember to do this spontaneously, we’ve dedicated the share of our reading workshop one day a week to be focused on this. so, during the share every friday for a few weeks, for example, we might ask our students to talk to their partner about how they’ve grown as readers.

during the first two months of school, we often feel like a broken record reminding our students that they are not the same ___ (person, reader, writer, friend) they were on the first day of school, and nor should they be! they are constantly growing and changing (or, if they aren’t, something isn’t going the way it’s supposed to!). we invite them at the end of a day or week or month to think back over the reading work they’ve done and name how they grew.

we offer them sentence starters to help get them started, like:

  • at the beginning of the unit/year, I…but now, I…
  • something that used to be hard for me was…but now…
  • one area i’ve grown is…
  • i’ve grown to be the kind of reader who…
  • a goal i still have for myself is…

we definitely use these sentence starters at the end of our first reading unit of study, which has usually focused on getting to know ourselves as readers and building reading stamina, but think it’s even more powerful if you use them more frequently – daily when you’re working to build the expectation that and understanding that we are constantly growing and changing, and then weekly to help it become a sort of habit to do this regular reflection. reflecting on where we started and have grown from is essential, after all, if we’re going to know how to push ourselves to grow going forward.

after we’ve given students time to talk with their partners, we invite them to share a way that they’ve grown into the silence. this means that we don’t call on students or ask them to raise their hands, but instead, they wait for silence – which means someone has just finished talking and no one else has started yet – and then share theirs. this can all be done within the five minute share at the end of a reading workshop period.

how do you celebrate reading in your class? we’d love to hear.

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