I am a FIRM believer that kids need time to read to practice those skills were are so busily teaching them in whole group and guided reading groups. My students read books they choose from our classroom library. The books are stored in their book boxes on this large shelf. Students also have a reading binder. Inside the binder is a book log and they record what they have been reading. I let them know I expect them to record the info, but it is not for me. At the beginning of the year I discuss how it helps to know what you read so if you liked it you can find more books in the series OR by that author. I also discuss the satisfaction of knowing HOW many books you have read. For many of our students that couldn't read when they walked in the door, this is HUGE.
Disclaimer: So the rest of the post will be based on PAST years :) .
When students are not in groups another activity that they are expected to do independently is a Reading Project. These are different each week and often reflect the skill or strategy we had worked on the previous week.
Here are a couple of examples of projects we completed:
When we studied inferring, we completed these Inferring with Poetry Books. The first poem in each book is the same and we completed them as a class. The books all look the same but are differentiated by difficulty. In the bottom right corner the books are numbered: Book 1 is the easiest, Book 2 is a bit more difficult and Book 3 is grade level. I did not create any of the poems- I found them online and simply formatted them for this book : )
After we finished questioning, students read a book of their choice and then recorded questions they had before, during and after reading. Then they answered the questions and wrote a "code" for how they found the answer. The codes are text (answers are straight from the text), background knowledge, inference, discussion (discussed with others to find the answer) other sources( library, other books, etc). I copied the sheets back to back and had the students fold and cut it to make a 3 flap book.
After we studied using context clues students worked on this project. In this project, students chose a a book and then picked three words they were unsure of the meanings. They completed the chart which was exactly like our anchor chart from the lesson.
Another project is my Retelling Project packet from Teachers Pay Teachers. It is on sale for $5.00.
So basically (in years past) when students are not in guided reading groups they are:
1. reading to self
2. reading to someone
3. reading project
Did that make it clear enough? I feel like I left this still vague. Please post any questions so I can clarify this post if needed! Thanks!
Update: If you are looking for LOTS more information about Guided Reading and organizational make sure to check out my guided reading pack, A Guide to Guided Reading. A hundred pages of guided reading goodness!