Is there anything more difficult and frustrating than trying to get your students to write about their reading?!
In my class, I only “make” my kids take notes on the books they are reading with their reading groups. There are two main reasons why we take notes on what we read.
- So we can remember what happened in the book
- So we can have MEANINGFUL discussions about the book with others.
I always struggle with the best way to set up student notes. This year my students are using a notebook but I have tried sticky notes, mini-notebooks, typing, and many apps.
Some of my students take notes on sticky notes and then add them to their notebook, while others go right to the notebook, but I never know if I should give them a specific amount of notes they have to take, or just let the reactions come naturally. I try to balance writing about reading with ENJOYMENT of reading.
Anyway, as a class we have come up with a list of sentence frames that have been a saving grace to my students’ reading notes. It started out with 3 frames, and grew as we learned about new ways to react and reflect on reading.
(Type-B alert! Lines not straight or spaced equally! Guess what? It still works.) This list stays up on my literacy board for all to see, however for some kids, I chose 5 or 6 of these and wrote them on a sticky note that stays in their notebooks as a reminder and a reference.
I constantly refer to these frames as I talk about books, and am encouraging my students to use it as they communicate about literature. It’s a simple tool that has worked wonders! And teachers, you don’t have to spend hrs using pretty fonts and colors to make an effective tool for your class.