Saturday, June 21, 2014

Do you have reading pals? Interactive Notebooks for Reading Pals...Summer Stock Up on this perfect tool!

Each year my sixth graders are teamed up with the first graders as a way to connect our diverse groups of learners.  The idea began about six years ago when I realized that many of my sixth graders needed practice to enhance fluency, and my first grade teaching pal, Mrs. Eshman, had students that really needed practice listening to reading.  We decided it was the perfect match!  We brought the students to the cafeteria with books in hand, paired them up, and prepared for them to sit together and read.

My 6th graders have always loved reading with their reading buddies.  It is a treat each week to see a special little person that looks just as forward to spending time with them.   For the first few weeks it is a novelty and everyone seems to be on their best behavior, but as the first weeks of school turn into months, focus eases up and merely reading is no longer an activity that keeps everyone’s attention. 
Over the last few years I have found that the reading time seems to go very quickly and my sixth graders are trying to find the best way to fill up the rest of their time.  The little ones can get off task easily, which can be a challenge for my sixth graders to manage.  In addition, my sixth graders that are supposed to be the role models can have issues of their own at times.  Despite teacher re-direction, the time wasn’t being utilized the way we had envisioned.

After one week of far too much re-focusing of our students, we began planning and coordinating what was read from that point on.  It was ideal.  The sixth graders were armed with more than a book, and wanted to take ownership over not just reading, but also helping their first grade pal develop a skill.

Teachers are busy and have minimal time for extras, and so this interactive notebook was born.  Instead of having to plan each week for reading pals, this is the tool that will allow your older and younger students to thrive when working together.  The work is done for you!  Simply print, grab student book boxes/baskets, cut, glue, and go!  Your students will be more than excited to work together and there is enough fun to keep your reading pals engaged.  There is nothing like seeing the older students guiding the younger learners.

Check out this tool in action and grab this sampler...any summer time you had scheduled to plan for reading pals is no longer needed.  Grab this sampler and get back to some fun in the sun!

Here is a pic of one of the activities that helps the old pal and younger pal get to know each other.  It leads into the perfect tool to enhance understanding of compare and contrast and Venn diagrams.

Here is the entire Reading Pals Interactive Notebook Tool Kit for Grades 1-6.

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