Today might be the very most important blog yet! It might even be the most important thing you do all year in literacy. The best part about today is that it’s actually super easy to implement this strategy and you can start doing it as soon as you’re done reading this!
So what am I talking about? I’m going to share how and why you need a class “Books We’ve read” anchor chart in your room. What I mean by a “Books We’ve read” anchor chart is I start out with a big piece of paper of butcher paper or an anchor chart. Then I make 4 columns on that chart. The first column I put the title, the second one is the author, the third is the genre, and the fourth is the date. As I read books to my class as an interactive read aloud, I add those titles to my books we’ve read anchor chart. So I have this running list of books we have read as a class. You don’t have to get super fancy with this either or maybe you want to! Some people go full on Pinterest with there chart. But for me, I just like to have a nice simple running list all year long and I keep it up as an anchor chart. This grounds all of my learning that I do with my kids in my reading and writing workshops and even in grammar and English.
So what are the benefits of having this chart up? Well for one, those books become mentor text for your reading and writing workshops. So say you read a book to your class in November, you can pull that book off the shelve in April if it fits the lesson your teaching on and they will remember what it was about. You just remind them of a few pages and the memory will come back to them of when you read it together. That book now becomes an awesome mentor text for your lesson that day. When you have the “Books We’ve read” chart on your wall you can quickly look back and have this amazing visual chart of all the different things you’ve read together as a class and think about which book would be a great mentor text for your lesson your planning. You can use these books all year long and the kids won’t forget them.
I also love that you can see all the learning you’ve done as a community. That’s another great benefit for having the chart up. You can compare characters in the different books. By having a conversation with your class and drawing their attention to the “Books We’ve read” chart, you can talk about which books have characters that are the same or have characters that are very different. You can even look for patterns in genres that you’ve covered in your class as well. Maybe your reading a lot of biographies or your class loves fiction or poetry. It’s a great way to compare genres.
You can also quickly look at the chart and use any of those books for an upcoming lesson. It’s a great visual representation. You can recall an authors writing style, use it as an example of writing styles within certain genres, and identify themes across books, authors, and writing styles. You can even compare books about similar cultures or topics that you have read together by analyzing your chart together.
So if you’re not keeping a “Books We’ve read” chart the good news is you can start today! It’s really simple. All you need is a marker and a piece of chart paper. Make and label those four columns of title, author, genre, and date, and start writing down the books your reading with your class today! I hope this has inspired you to keep a “Books We’ve read” chart in your class! If you would like to try an engaging yet no planning required text, you can check out all my Interactive Read Aloud’s HERE! If you enjoyed today’s lesson you can find this post and many more on iTunes, Spotify, or Alexa Briefings. Click here to listen