Reading Choices: Daily 5, SSR, & Homework

Do you find that your students check out the same types of books at the library?  If so, it is time to expand their horizons on the Reading Highway!  
You can incorporate the Reading Highway with:
  • Daily 5
  • D.E.A.R. time
  • SSR
  • Reading homework
  • Genre unit
  • Social Studies
  • Geography
  • Read Across America
It is an easy way to document your students' free reading at school or home.  The added bonus is you are integrating reading and social studies.  Too often, social studies is a subject that is takes a backseat to other subjects because of standardized testing.  With a little planning and integration, you can expand your students' reading horizons.
Too often, when we visit the library we naturally gravitate to books that we love.  It wasn't until I joined a book club that more structured than most, that I changed my philosophy on adding a little structure to my students' free reading choices.  I joined a book club that read a book from a different genre each month.  One month the selection for my book club was non-fiction.  I have never been a fan of non-fiction.  In fact, if I buy something new, I am more apt to try to put it together without reading the direction first.  I do not recommend this policy!  Our selection for the non-fiction month was Malcom Gladwell's, The Tipping Point.
Oh!  My gosh!  I was completely hooked from the first chapter.  As a teacher, I have always looked for these type of things - tipping points.  What are the tipping points, the changes or tweaks that I can make that can have a ripple effect on my students' reading achievement, improved behavior, and less paperwork?  Gladwell's style of writing makes it hard to put down his books.  I now buy all of his books as soon as they come out.   I don't even wait for the paperback!
After my experience with my book club, I was bound and determined to expand my students' horizons, too!  I told my class what had happened to me.  I also explained that I didn't necessarily love every single genre that I tried, but it is a little like food.  You have to try several before you know for sure that you don't like it.   You can read more about my book club experience and pick up a FREEBIE by clicking HERE.
I have structured my students' free reading time different ways.  Some times I have a genre focus.  Other times I divided my class into groups and each group had a different genre to focus on for that month and then we rotated genres each month.  At the end of the month, groups gave a mini report about the genre.  It was like a commercial for that genre.
Another way I have structured free reading time is by integrating social studies and reading.  Students have to read books from different states or regions.  
I found my students were more motivated when I used this visual.  Students names were on a car and the students put the cars on the state to show the setting of the book they were reading.  Each time they changed books, they moved their car.  My students loved to watch their classmates' travels on the Reading Highway.  It was one of those "oh, this is why I became a teacher moments" when I heard when my students comparing details from their stories about the climate and terrain plus other details from the story that showed me my students were becoming more aware of geography and how it impacted the story .  These were snatches of things I heard when we were lining up for specials and lunch.  Love it when a lesson spills over into their conversations.  You should have seen how many times my students were crowded around the map!  I bought a map at Costco several years ago that was really large and was already laminated.  I hot glued it to my wall where we lined up.  It was a great investment.
If you want to structure using the region program, I would recommend that you put your students in region groups.  I found it easiest to have tubs of books sorted by regions.  You can also ask your librarian to sort a few for you before your class goes to the library.
I have a Pinterest board with links to book lists, books, and other resources that are helpful.  Click on the picture below if you'd like to check these out.
I also have a FREE sample of my Reading Highway packet for you.

You are invited to pop over to my blog.  I love to share tips and free stuff.
Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

1 comment

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