New approach to reading

Last year I implemented Kelly Gallagher’s “Book of the Month” plan. The choice reading was successful, but I was dissatisfied with the assessment. I agree who wants to take a test after reading a great book, but as a teacher I need some sort of assessment to put in the gradebook as a record of what students did. Assessment is always a struggle because you want it to be meaningful and help inform future plans, but one-size fits all just has never worked for me. Enter Goodreads.

novel books

Photo by Min An on

As a voracious reader, I love Goodreads. I can connect with other readers, get book suggestions, rate and review books and track my own reading goal progress. So as I was planning this year and how to structure self-selected reading, my mind turned to Goodreads. My plan was to get students on Goodreads, start a private group for our class and have them start logging their reading through the site. I have never seen such excitement about reading in my classroom. Below are the steps I took.

  1. Give the homework assignment “Bring a book you have loved to class.”
  2. Allow students to share these books to create excitement for reading.
  3. Direct students to Goodreads and get an account set up.
  4. Have them set a reading goal of at least 8 books (1 a month) or more of they dare. Have them select genres they are interested in reading and then rate the book they brought to class to begin their “read” shelf.
  5. Go to the library, do some booktalks, help students find their next great love (book). Help them log this book as “currently reading.” Join them into the class group of Goodreads so they can see their peers, what they are reading and make suggestions to each other.
  6. Each month they must rate and review at least one book. The review must show they read and thought about the book. I gave some example reviews of my own for them to model as they move into this aspect of the book a month assignment.

It is only week two and already two students have finished their books, rated and reviewed them. They have both started on new books. The important aspect of this is teacher-modeling and teacher-passion. I love to read. I love to talk about books. I love to rate and review books…and I show this all to my students. When they have reading time in class, I read. I ask them about their books and share my own reviews with them as I finish books. So far Goodreads has been a win for this year!

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