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Nurturing Wild Readers and the 40 Book Challenge

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Though we hope books travel with students wherever they may go, within and beyond the walls of Bixby, the literature classroom is our reading home for the year.  Within these walls (and sometimes on the stoop outside), we will spend lots of time reading, listening to reading, thinking about reading, and responding to reading.

img_5782In fact, we are taking on the 40 Book Challenge!  Inspired by the research and writings of Donalyn Miller, students are challenged to read 40 books, across the genres, in the school year.  In her book, The Book Whisperer, Miller outlines several characteristics of what she calls a “wild reader”, including dedicating time to read, self-selecting reading material, sharing books and reading with others, having reading plans, and showing preferences.  We are taking all of this to heart this year.  With the 40 Book Challenge, students will be exposed to a variety of genres, but will be self-selecting within the genres.

img_5992These early weeks have been dedicated to establishing classroom routines and expectations, all of which nurture habits of a wild reader.  The kiddos are getting settled into these routines and even seem to be enjoying them!  During both independent reading and read-aloud, there is a feeling of calm and peace that permeates our reading home.  It is lovely.  It also allows me to conference with individual students, allowing me to get a better sense for who they are as readers, their goals, their skills, their struggles, etc.  When we gather together to share where we are in our books (status of the class), to share the books we have been reading (book commercials), or to discuss our read-aloud the room bubbles up with questions, insights, smiles, and excitement.  We are becoming wild readers!

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