Building lifetime readers with Dr. Steven Layne’s assistance

A reader is…interest, attitude, motivation, and engagement.


Skills needed:

  • phonetics- phonics, decoding
  • fluency
  • comprehension
  • semantics
  • syntax
  • phonemic awareness

The skill grows through practice and as the student engages with text. Skill instruction is important. Scaffolding and building new skills occurs through instruction. The teacher teaches the “will” of reading.

Elementary Cafe: foster a love of reading YA (young adult). Read aloud excerpts from a picture book and answer questions about a book. Make posters with book covers. Have new and contemporary books available for your students. Reading log selections (Title, Author, Genre) should be made available. The students can use the reading log selections on Fridays. Reading is not just books. Reading log selections can be printed on card stock and clipped to the whiteboard. The students can fill them out weekly (made a weekly event). Allow students to chatter and teach them to think to find the answer (model 2 times).

Fiction and non-fiction: think and talk about different genres. The student is developing literary/literate behavior. Students should be given opportunities to be excited to go to the bookstore. During read alouds, the teacher should get the students interested in reading and there should be multiple copies of books available. A book sitting on your desk is a great enticement for students.

There should be book checks. Giving book checks should be a part of your instruction. Talk about 1 or 2 books that you love (new and notable books). The instruction should be part of your lesson planning. Students need to hear about lots of great books, but not overly time-consuming. It takes preparation, rehearsal, and planning (takes real thought).

Book Chat:

A narrative voice should be used (become the character). 1st person- (I), happen to you; 2nd voice- happen to students; and 3rd voice- tell about the book as an observer (he/she). Allow room for interaction. A mini-goal should be set- 1 in 2nd voice and 1 in 1st voice.

1st- “I” (You become a character and tell us what happened.)

2nd- “You” (The events are happening to the listening audience.)

3rd- “He/She” (You are telling about the story as an observer.)

Tell why you like the book. Read a piece of it to them. Display the book at the front of the room. The book chat should be planned and executed. If you want kids to read, you must tell them about great books. You need to have book commercials about books they may like to read. You need to have a “hook” to capture their interest from the very beginning. Read a passage aloud.

Instruction takes preparation with choosing the perfect excerpt from the book. The students must have background to understand the passage read aloud to them. It takes real thought. The teacher needs to rehearse the passage, which comes with good teaching and planning (good teaching skills). The book chat must be executed well. It needs to be reasonable and manageable. You want to make the students really love the book. Finding their “sweet spot” is key.

Previewing- use the entire book cover. Preview thoroughly prior to engaging in text- students will comprehend more text and will be better than those who do not. Reading instruction is critical. Students must learn to preview text. Preview the text to get students excited and to build their interest in a book. Students must be given the opportunity to think.

Picture walks include looking at pictures in sequential order.

An idea to use with picture books is for the students to write a one sentence summary of the entire book. Students can write about things that they notice on a page. Students can express what the first line of a book/opening sentence communicates. Students can discuss the setting. The picture book can be used to scan for grammar. Students can record words that they love from the book.

While previewing the book, explain to the students that they are detectives and are previewing to find as much as they can before reading the text. Point out the preview parts.

Teach students how to book shop in the school library and create a someday book list. Tell the students that behind every book cover could be something they love. The strategy used is for students to preview/interact with the text. Allow students to give a book recommendation for 15 minutes. Advise students to walk in the library with their someday list to help the librarians know what books they are looking for.

To get students excited about reading is a good use of your money.


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