Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Reading Strategies Book Study: Goal 2-Teaching Reading Engagement

Welcome Back to The Reading Strategies Book Study!

Goal 2: Teaching Reading Engagement 
Focus, Stamina, and Building a Reading Life 

      Greetings Everyone! Welcome back to our Reading Strategies Book Study. I am so excited to host the study for Goal Number 2. The moment that little box arrived on my doorstep containing this book, I knew my reading instruction was going to be forever changed and impacted. This book is truly phenomenal. Every new and veteran teacher should have this book on hand. It doesn't matter if your school uses a basal or reader's workshop approach, this book CAN and WILL work for you. 
       Goal Number 2 is all about TEACHING READING ENGAGEMENT. As a first grade teacher, reading engagement and stamina can be especially tricky for my students. However, the strategies enclosed in this book demonstrates just how easy you can foster and create a successful and effective environment for independent reading.  

      Jennifer Serravallo's quote above conveys just how important EFFECTIVE independent reading can be for our students. I have been guilty (surely I'm not the only one) of sending my kids off to Read to Self and just hoping for the best. At the very least, I'm hoping they are quiet and don't interrupt my guided reading block. After reading the contents of this goal, I now realize just how important that twenty minute block is to my student's overall reading success. According the the book, Reading Strategies, the author notes how research shows that the amount of time students spend actually reading with their eyes on print and on task, will make the biggest difference in their reading. That means it isn't just about what happens at the Guided Reading table. It's about what happens when they are simply engaging and actually reading a text.  

Strategy 2.1 A Perfect Reading Spot
Level: Any    Genre: Any   Skill: Focus 

      The first strategy I want to highlight from this Goal is Strategy 2.1 A Perfect Reading Spot. Allowing your students to have a choice about where they read is critical. Choice is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS powerful! This strategy suggests that you lead students in a discussion about the BEST reading spot for them (which may be different for different students). Once again, allowing students to take responsibility for their own learning/reading. The anchor chart example provided in the text is perfect to show that reading spots will be different for different students. This particular chart shows with sticky notes the variety of readers in this classroom. It will also be powerful to show that the reason we are "quiet" is because we are showing reader respect to those students who need their reading spot "quiet." This lesson can be done with all readers, and is not limited on grade or particular reading level. 

Questions to think about for this strategy: 
1. Does my room accommodate reading spots for a variety of readers? 
2. What kind of lighting should I consider? 
3. How can I convey reader respect when introducing this strategy? 

Strategy 2.4 Keep Your Eyes and Mind in the Book
Level: Any    Genre: Any   Skill: Focus, Monitoring for Meaning

      The next strategy I want to shift our focus to is Strategy 2.4, Keeping Your Eyes and Mind in the Book. I chose this particular strategy because I feel it is one that we do (even as adults) naturally, but can be difficult to teach our readers. But it is SO IMPORTANT to lasting reading engagement and overall comprehension. I always tell my students that we have a "reading voice" and a "thinking voice" when we read. When reading we keep our eyes in the book and read each word, but as we read we also want to keep our mind engaged by using our "thinking voice" too. Jennifer Serravallo provides AMAZING prompts that you can use with each strategy as well. One of the prompts she provides for this strategy is, "Can you picture what's happening?" This simple chart is very powerful for young readers to remember to keep both your eyes and mind in the book. I love that this book provides prompts and a sample anchor chart for EVERY strategy. 

Questions to think about for this strategy: 
1. How do I want to define "attention" and "focus" for my students to easily understand?
2. What text(s) will work best for modeling "backing up and re-reading?" 

Strategy 2.12 Ask Questions to Engage with the Text 
Level: E and Above   Genre: Any 
 Skill: Questioning, Focus, Stamina

      The third strategy I will highlight is Strategy 2.12, Ask Questions to Engage with the Text. This is one of my FAVORITE strategies in this text, simply because it piggy backs off the others and can lead to even deeper comprehension connections as students grow as readers. Also, this strategy is for Level E and above readers. I love that this anchor chart uses language and visuals that are completely appropriate for a Level E reader.  This strategy is perfect for modeling that "Thinking Voice" and "Keeping their Mind in the Book"  as they read. It is powerful for helping students monitor their own engagement as they read. One of the prompts the author provides is, " Tell me about the conversation you're having in your mind." Talk about having purposeful and powerful reading conferences! That simple prompt could lead to some amazing opportunities for understanding a student's approach to comprehension. That is just ONE of the prompts for this strategy. There are TEN other equally amazing prompts as well. 

Questions to think about for this strategy: 

1. What text will work best for modeling "waking up your brain?" Consider using both fiction and nonfiction texts for this strategy. 

      As we approach "Back to School," time, where we will begin introducing routines and procedures for our classrooms, it is important to remember the quote above. This year, my goal is not "rush" to get students to "Read to Self" quickly, but rather to get my students to "Read to Self" effectively. That may mean that I may not be launching my "Read to Self"  or independent reading center/time as quickly as I have in the past, and that is OK! It's similar to telling our student's to swim, yet not giving them instruction on how to do so. I don't want them to simply have to "float." I'd much rather have them actually swimming. If they have successful reading engagement at school, this will also make their reading experiences at home more engaging and effective as well. 

How my reading instruction is going to change from this goal? Instructing students in effective reading engagement is far more than a "standard of behavior" in a classroom or center. It is about developing strategies and habits that will help them in independent reading, guided reading, home reading, upper grades, college, and adulthood. It's a tool for a lifetime of reading success! 

Resources to Help You Build Engagement 

Here are two posters to help you teach Strategy 2.4 Keep Your Eyes and Mind in the Book. Click on either poster to snag these FREE posters. 


    One way that I love to keep students motivated is to hand out "Read to Self" raffle tickets. When launching read to self, if students are "on task," give them a ticket. At the end of each month, you can hold a "raffle," and raffle away one or several books. I usually use the $1 books from Scholastic for this. Students love giveaways and raffles just as much as teachers! It keeps the Read to Self Center motivating and fun. Click on the picture below to grab your FREE Read to Self Raffle tickets. 

I recently created some new center and station signs that have visual reminders for students too. You can grab these by clicking on one of the pictures below too! 

 It's not to late to get caught up on the book study. Head on over to Literacy Loving Gals to read about GOAL 1 and enter to WIN a copy of the BOOK: READING STRATEGIES. Click on the picture below to read about Goal 1 and enter the giveaway to win your free copy!  

Goal 1: Supporting Pre-Emergent and Emergent Readers


CAN'T WAIT...Need to Order Today! 
Click the picture below to order your copy today. 

Tune in on August 10th for our Goal 3:Supporting Print Work study with The Literacy Spot

Check out the calendar below to make sure you don't miss a post! 

Link Up & Share Your Thoughts! 
The #ReadingStrategiesCrew is so excited to hear your thoughts on this goal. Link up or comment below to share your thoughts on this AMAZING text!


  1. HI! I teach second graders and for way too many kids, it's all about the level. I love strategies 2.15 Choose Like Books for a Best Fit and 2.16 Choose Books with Your Identity in Mind! These are great ways to get our readers to think more about what kinds of books they like to read and what they do not enjoy reading. Of course it's important that a book be at a child's independent reading level, but there's waaay too much more to consider when selecting a book to read! I will certainly be using the prompts to help my readers figure out their identities to help themselves select books. I don't want my kids to be dependent on me to always suggest books for them. Strategy 2.18 really got me thinking again about how we have been using (under-using) reading logs. I've used them myself to do the analyzing of reading rates, etc. but I think I can teach my students how to do some of that too with guidance. Then they may value the reading log more. And finally, I love the prompts to help my readers monitor their stamina and pace (2.25). The goal of engagement is one to revisit many times over the year as a whole class as well as in individual conferences as needed. This really does need to be explicitly taught. Love the charts and other visuals!

    1. I love your thorough response. I am not near my book right now, or I'd copy your lead and also write about the strategies from this chapter that I put a star on top knowing I'd be using often. I'm also a 2nd grade teacher (21st year of teaching) and find this book very valuable for my reading workshop.

  2. Hi!
    School started yesterday for us. I will have 90 5th grade students to whom I teach Reading. This book will be a tool I will use forever. It is an answer to prayer because I am a reading specialist who had very few strategies in her toolbox. Goal 2 helped me determine how much time I need to spend on stamina and engagement...previously only a mini-lesson. I am exhausted from ...well you understand...but I wanted to keep up with the study! Thanks again for hosting!

  3. This is a great goal: "This year, my goal is not "rush" to get students to "Read to Self" quickly, but rather to get my students to "Read to Self" effectively." All too often, we assume they learned to read to self in the previous grade and we only brush the surface. I like the idea of not rushing and doing lots of modeling with strategy 2.4-keeping your mind and eyes in the book. This can be accomplished with lots of think alouds during those first few weeks during read aloud time. I love using Fossa: A Fearsome Predator by M. Goldish as many kids have never heard of a Fossa and are very intrigued with the content. It keeps their attention while I read aloud, think aloud and ask questions about the text-combining the 2 strategies! After several pages, the kids are joining in asking questions as well. Thanks for hosting chapter 2.

  4. Somehow I got a week behind! Oh well, no matter. I love this chapter, and picked out the "Find your spot" lesson as a favourite too. Many of my students will be returning to me this year, and I already know that is one of our problems. They move around the room a lot during "Read to Self" time, and end up wasting time. I have a few "Sheldon"s in my room who find a favourite spot and if someone else takes it then WATCH OUT! It was very disruptive. I think I will probably spend more than one day on this lesson, hopefully helping them realize they nee their spot, but so do others. I also loved 2.2 Break Reads. This is a strategy I have used in math and writing, but never reading. I draw lines with a highlighter for students, telling them that when they get to that line in their writing, or in their math, they can take a little break. For some kids, there are is an inch between breaks and for others there is more. Over time, I show them how to pick their own break spots. A break can be a walk around the room, a drink, a stretch. I can't believe I never realized how helpful it could be during reading too! Probably because I am not a person who is overwhelmed by a 700 page book, and forget that some kids (people) are overwhelmed by a 20 page book. I also loved 2.8, setting a timed goal. I'll be teaching grade 4, and they need to be setting their own SMART goals!

  5. Thank you, informative and well-spoken. Lots of value!!!

  6. Reading Makes Your Child Smarter

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    1. Vocabulary Development and Instruction: A Prerequisite for School Learning
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    Cunningham AE, Stanovich KE.

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    Donald J. Hernandez, Hunter College and the Graduate Center,