Monday, July 23, 2012

Reading Notebooks

Last year was my first year of using the Daily 5.  In our classroom we modified it to the Daily 4, and I did not use the Cafe menu.  Our district has a basal that we must use, and I found it difficult to squeeze in all of the Daily 5, the basal, the conferences, and the free choice that the Cafe uses.  I focused on the skill in the basal all week, and the story was the required reading for Read to Self on Monday.  Our basal comes with leveled readers, and I often used these for Read to Someone and some of my guided reading meetings.  Instead of having free choice each day about which Daily 4 item they would complete, the student were assigned Word Work, Work on Writing, etc on certain days of the week.  Because we departmentalize, I had two reading classes that were 90 minutes each (this year I will have 3 for one hour each), I found this system was easier to manage and created far less chaos.  The students were also more focused and able to complete their tasks within the time we had.

Anyway, we did use our reading notebooks often last year for Work on Writing, but I don't feel I required the students to write enough about their reading.  I read The Book Whisperer this summer and LOVED it!  I love the idea of students writing me a letter about their reading, but in the past when I've done this it's become sort of monotonous for them.  I think it was required too often, and they became bored.  This year I am planning to continue with the letter, but instead of hand writing the letter they will type it as a blog entry on our new classroom blog!  I can't wait to implement this and see what my little 4th graders come up with!!

I also want to make our notebooks more of an all-inclusive space.  A space where the students can refer to anchor charts, notes, log their reading, keep a space for Work on Writing, and check on grammar rules.  I purchased this notebook and plan to organize it as my master and sample.

I love the idea of the ribbon.  I saw it on Jamie's blog What's The Buzz in First and just had to have it.  I purchased blue, orange, and green ribbon (one color for each class) and plan to add them to my students notebooks during the first week of school.

It is finally time for me to put all these ideas into my notebook, but I'm sort of paralyzed.  I want it to be neatly organized in a way that makes sense to my students and me.  I want a space for them to record the books they've read (I'm hoping to use the 40 book requirement from The Book Whisperer, but modify it for 4th graders), I want a separate space for writing and plenty of pages to do that, I also want a space for our weekly vocabulary, grammar, and anchor charts.

I'm thinking about using these tabs to seperate the sections in the students notebooks.  This will help me find the information I'm looking for, but also keep them from just randomly writing on any page in the know what I'm talking about :)

Here's my reading timeline since May (looking at it I realize I have not done nearly enough reading this summer!!)

So to get started I found this idea on Pinterest this summer and loved it.  It's from Our Class Goins On and I adore the idea of pictures to go with the title.  I'm not sure I will allow the students to print book covers though.  I can see these sucking up a lot of valuable reading time.  Instead, I may have them do a small illustration that represents the book.  This is going to be our reading timeline, and we will use the last 5-10 books we've read to define us as readers.

and immediately following that I will have each child glue this log into their notebooks.  This is an idea I got from The Book Whisperer and this is the space where they will keep track of the books they read.  Feel free to save the images and use them!

How do you use your reading notebooks?  Do you separate the notebook into sections?  Have you ever combined the reading and writing notebook?  I would LOVE to hear what others are doing!!!!


  1. I am reading the Book Whisperer right now! I am loving it. Thanks for sharing thiese ideas. I know I want to make students more accountable during independent reading but haven't completely figured out how. These ideas are very helpful.


    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

    1. Megan, I'm with you, making the kids accountable during independent reading is a big struggle for me every year. I am really hoping that organized, frequently used notebooks will help!

  2. Hey there!

    I hope you can join me in my "Preparing for School" linky party @ {6th Grade} All-Stars

    Mrs. Crouse :)

  3. Your notebooks are a great idea! I can't wait to share it with my team and see if they all want to do it as well! As always I love your blog!

    1. Glad you like them.....they are definitely a work in progress! If your team decides to use them please share you ideas. I'm still a little all over the place with what I'm doing and I would LOVE to see how others are using them!!!


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