#SOL18 Day 18 Teacher Question- Reader's Notebooks

A few summers ago, I read the book A Handful of Stars with some other amazing educators online. Our goal was to write about our reading and share the different ways we did it. I remember the awesome sketchnotes and the different charts and pictures teachers created to show understanding. Writing about reading didn't feel like a chore and seeing other teacher's ideas made the book more powerful. 

I haven't been able to transfer this experience to my classroom. 

This is my 4th year teaching third grade but I still don't have a clear idea of what my student reading notebooks should look like. There is an expectation from my district that each book a student reads will be somehow written about in the reading notebook. Colleagues and friends I talk to who teach elsewhere say they find that stifling and would hate to write about every book they read. 

It makes me wonder: Is the notebook a place of accountability, where a teacher can make sure a student is reading what he says he is and that he understands? Is it a place for a reader to grow ideas? Can it be both? And what does that reader do with the ideas about a book if he is the only one reading it? Are we writing to be able to have conversations about our books? If not, why are we writing? To hold onto the plot and make notes about our thoughts? If no one else read the book at the same time I did, how does that conversation go? 

So here are some more questions I have and would love to hear your ideas:

1-How do your students keep track of the books they are reading?

2-Do they select books at their level? How do you facilitate that? (Bins with letter names on it, presents books for students to choose, etc.)

3- If they are reading free choice (not at a level), how do you determine if the book is too hard for them? How do you help them make sure it is a good choice?

4-What do your reading notebooks look like? What is the expectation for writing about reading? 

5- How do you know if a student has understood or even finished a book he says he read if there is no writing about reading? 

6-If your students are writing about their reading, how does that look?

7- What type of goals do your students work on as readers? Do they self-select their goals or do you help them?

8- How do you keep the love of reading going strong?

Thanks for any ideas you can share! 

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