Category Archives: just right books

Reader to Reader

james

I am a reader.  I have always been a reader.  I am a reader down to my bones.   I can spend hours exploring the shelves of any library or bookstore and leave with stacks of books.  When I was young, my mom would take me to the library at least twice a week.  Some weeks I could have gone more often.  She read to me from the time I was born. I was the girl who hid under the covers to read just one more chapter, and I am still the girl who stays up way past my bed time because I am lost in another world.  There are always at least five books on my nightstand waiting for me to dive into them and another five patiently waiting on my Kindle.  I am a reader, and I have never had trouble picking “Just Right” books.  So how did this happen?  How did I learn how to pick the books that I needed to read and was dying to read?  How did I know how to pick the books that would support my reading life?  Because I can tell you this, I have never had a mini lesson on how to pick “Just Right” books.  The answer is simple.  I read and have always read books I am interested in, and I learned that simple lesson from my mom.  I was allowed to become a reader and develop an interest in all sorts of books because of what I experienced at home.  I became a reader on the lap of a reader.   Unfortunately, not all of our readers are as I lucky as I was.  However, it is never too late!  Teachers have a responsibility to create readers, develop readers, support readers, and grow readers that know how to pick “Just Right” books each and every time even if the reader has never held a book.

Easy to say.

Hard to do.

But we have to start somewhere.

Start with

a reader

a lap

a passion

a conversation

and a lot of books

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Filed under just right books, SOL

“Just Right?”

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It is hard to think about planning the launching readers’ workshop unit without the classic “Just Right” book lesson.  Teachers spend hours planning their “Just Right” lessons to ensure their readers are matched with books that will support growth.   Year after year, it is one of the first lessons readers receive. 

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The lessons are predictable.  The “Just Right” book anchor chart hangs proudly on the wall.  Teachers create book marks to share with readers to help them remember how to select “Just Right” books.  Read alouds center around “Just Right” books.  Readers are assessed on their ability to select “Just Right” books.   Readers young and old can tell you the five finger rule and the sections of the library that hold the books that are “Just Right” books for them.   Many readers can teach the lesson on “Just Right” books.  So with all of the teaching going on to equip every reader with tools needed for book selection success, why do so many of our readers say they don’t like to read?  Why do we have readers that wander aimlessly when it time to shop for books?  Why do so many readers spend reading time doing everything they can to avoid reading?  Why have so many readers become masters at the art of fake reading? Why do our readers fail to pick “Just Right” books that will keep them coming back for more?  

I just have to wonder if the lessons teachers are working so hard to teach have the “Just Right” stuff readers need.  If not, how do teachers help readers to find the “Just Right” books that will make them fall in love with reading?   What are the lessons with the “Just Right” stuff?  A question worth exploring.  

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