So, since we are working on moving up the ladder of the reading level world, I decided I needed a reading leveled library in my classroom. Which is expensive!! I wish I could buy fancy smancy books for my classroom library, but let's be honest...It would be more of a bucket of about 20 books. At my old school, we used reading a-z. Which is this *amazing* online source where it has about 20-30 paper books per level! It does have a year membership fee, but I thought this was totally worth it. So I took the dive...
I really recommend this website to any teacher trying to motivate students to read. It has fluency tests, paper books, lesson ideas, etc. Believe me, I have a strong relationship with these books now. I spend multiple days a week, printing, cutting, laminating, duct taping, etc. this books, but it's ALL worth it, because my students are beyond excited about it.
Our first grade team decided to try sending home leveled books to read for 20-30 minutes a night instead of worksheets for homework. We are still trying it out, but I swear...my students can't wait to show me that their parents signed their reading log and what they learned the previous night from their books. And in the month that we have started this little journey, most of my kids have moved up a reading level...uhh, why didn't I start doing this earlier?!!!
Here is the beginning of one of my lovely Friday nights...I printed out about 30 leveled books and laminated the covers to those books, so that the books will last longer. None of my books have been destroyed yet...not even close, and I'm giving all the thanks to my trusty friend, the laminating machine.
After you fold the pages and cut the laminating, you staple the books together.
Duct tape!!! The best part of this is that I got to explore multiple stores for the craziest duct tape. Secret: for the lower levels, I just did simple colors like red and purple...and as you move up in levels, the duct tape gets crazier and crazier. This has motivated the students to want to move up levels so that they may get *gasp* Justin Bieber or Mario Bros. duct tape. Yes, Justin Beiber duct tape really does exist...Why didn't they ever have Hanson duct tape when I was growing up?! :(
This is the finished product! I will be the first to say that this take a lot of time, but completely worth it!! Even my low kiddies are so pumped to get new books in their level... When the student moves up a level, they get a pass to the office to go give our principal a high-five. Getting a high five from the principal is like winning the lottery at my school. Hey, whatever works!
Lastly, I bought $1 bins at Target and put the reading level's duct tape around the container, and threw all those books in the correct bin...okay, I didnt throw them, because my blood, sweat, and tears went into each and every one of those books. Since the container is labeled, my students can go "book shopping" on Mondays and Wednesdays for new books in their reading level. I am hoping to retest their reading level every month. Let's cross our fingers!
Now, I need to set up my raz-kids account...This is JUST like the paper books I have but it is online. So, the kids can do it during workstations or at home for homework. The amazinggggg thing about this is that they listen to the story, read the story outloud, then take a quiz on the story. If they pass, they move on to the next book, if not (sad day) they read the story again. AND, the kids earn points for their "spaceship" and once they earn enough, can buy different things to decorate their spaceship. I know, I'd rather earn a Tory Burch bag or a free dinner, but it doesn't take much to get the little ones excited.
Just wanted to share this idea since it has worked so well in my class! Congrat, by the way, if you read this entire blog....it was a long one :) Happy Monday!!