My students need books that will serve as mentor texts in our genre and author study units, as well as mentor texts for prompted written compositions.
Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a Fountas and Pinnell reading training where teachers learned about Genre Study workshops. We were fired up and ready to teach our kids in this learning style. However, this means that I need a lot more books that are readily available to share.
My kids are brilliant, engaged learners!
I love coming to school each day to open their worlds up to new learning opportunities, and read aloud to them. We have so many meaningful conversations about what we read. The kids synthesize what was read, and make brilliant connections and predictions that only enhance our conversations all the more. It's a beautiful thing, getting to open this door to them- to find joy and purpose in literature. It is especially touching when I see that all of their different personalities come together for this experience- gifted children, struggling learners, diverse cultural backgrounds- they all come together to our carpet and trust me to take them on the next journey into our next text.
We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to take many more journeys each year with the books selected. I like to display all of the books around the classroom during our two-week unit with that genre. This way, students may self-select and have a deeper understanding of the genre under study. Some of the units we do, that we would appreciate books on are: Chris Van Allsburg Author Study, Personal Narratives/Memoirs, Mystery, Holidays Around the World, and Persuasive text. We read aloud a few examples, and use a chart to compare and contrast the texts on the board. Then, the students are given time throughout the unit to browse and read the slected books independently. After a clear understanding of this genre, students use the mentor texts to create a piece of writing within that genre. For example, we would read The Day the Crayons Quit, and write letters from the perspective of the supplies persuading students to use them in an appropriate way.
Since starting this style of teaching, I can see that the students enjoy reading, or being read to, a lot more.
I can see that they have a more meaningful understanding of the genre, and the elements within that genre that make it distinct. I know that we would benefit from having a richer selection of literature in our classroom for kids to access.
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