Choosing books for a long trip

sols_6Each day I have a question on the white board for my students to answer as they walk in the room. They are quick community building questions for my 3rd and 4th graders and often connected to something we are learning about in class.

Last week we were check our reading goals and making sure we all had a good free read book ready when there was a moment to read. This led me to posting the question –

What one book would you take with you if you were heading on a long, long, long, long trip? 

This class is quick and the first thing that happened was several students came over to say “can I list my kindle?” No, I said – you are going to a place where you won’t be able to charge your kindle. What one book?

It was great fun to watch and listen in on their conversations. Several were mad – “I can’t pick one book – not going to do this!” Others just sat and stared at the board for a long time before listing a book and some sat with friends and discussed this until morning circle.

Their answers fell in line with their reading ability and you could quickly see the range of reading skills and thinking in the room.   Amazing what picking on book can show you about your students!

My early reading 3rd graders quickly put up books like Bad Kitty or Ivy and Bean with no real thought. I am reading this now so I will take this book.

There were the middle readers who listed Where the Sidewalk Ends  (telling me poetry never gets old – I have to agree). This group also listed books like Because of Winn Dixie, The Cats of Tangle Wood Forest, and The English Rose (just saying I like this book).

Then there was another group who posted books with very strong thoughts about why they choose their book.

  • Harry Potter book 7 because it is the longest and by the time I finish it I will be ready to read it again.
  • Calvin and Hobbs because there are illustrations and words to explore plus who can get tired of Calvin and Hobbs they never get old!
  • The Hobbit – since it is a detailed story you can get lost in over and over again.
  • The Hitcher Guide to the Galaxy – because it is a complex story that makes you think and re read while having fun!

Who knew that such a simple question could give me so much information. You could tell who is just beginning to read, who is reading and enjoying but not into deep thinking about their books and who is really exploring the depths of the books before them.

It will be interesting to see how this changes over time. What will they pick next spring? What new authors will they find or who will have developed a great love of one book or another?

Try it!  See what book your students hold dear – be sure to ask them why they picked that special book -the answers are great!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Book Review, listening. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Choosing books for a long trip

  1. Betsy says:

    Isn’t it wonderful when the thinking is so thick you can see it? Love this idea and I too am curious what they will say when spring comes.

  2. Linda Baie says:

    Love it! I will pass this idea on. There is an old book suitable for your kids I think titled The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh. It has a similar premise to your question. Take a look!

  3. Carol says:

    What great responses! I want to try this question on the students and teachers I work with!

  4. Sherry Early says:

    I like your question. I think I may try a similar activity at our homeschool co-op that meets once a week,. It would be interesting to see what parents and students both would write.

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