Jane over at The Learning Curve has just started launching Read to Self to her class and wants some tips to make sure non-readers are reading. She managed 10 seconds on one attempt and 50 seconds was the best. First off, I have to say that when I started this week, a minute and a half was the best we managed of 3 attempts so our other 2 were pretty poor! All I can say is, don't stress - it has been that way every year for me, but we always build up enough stamina within about the first month.
Here are my tips for Daily 5 'newbies' - a term I've taken from my son.... everyone is a 'Noob' to him :) However, I'm no expert, this is just what works for me and tips from the book!
- I build up lots of enthusiasm before we start.We go through our I-Chart - "Can you ..... ", Class "Yes!" We build pictures of what we will look like in our mind. Yesterday I commented that a teacher I 'know' already has her class reading for 8 minutes (this was actually a teacher who had emailed me and has a Year 5-6 class, but my kids don't know that!). We can't let them reach 20 minutes before us! Perfect for setting a purpose and creating a sense of urgency!
Our I-Chart ... a bit messy, but we made it as a class
- I make sure that my non-readers have good fit books. This includes very early readers, picture books with few words or books we've read as read-alouds like "No David" which they can read from memory and using the pictures. If non-readers don't think they can read the books they won't read.
- I time them from the time I say something like "It's now time for Read to Self", not once they are actually settled and reading (this is different from the book, the Sisters recommend placing the children around the room before getting started during the launch phase). This is because I'm also checking that they can get their book boxes quickly, find a place where they won't be disturbed, get started right away etc. So that minute and a half didn't include that much reading! Each time we pack up they put their book boxes away and have to get them again after we've checked in.
- Check in after each attempt using the thumbs up/thumbs sideways using the I-Chart. When we check in about whether we read the whole time, I always say "Did you read, read the pictures or retell a story the whole time" to reinforce to my non-readers that it is ok to read the pictures. We share individual celebrations. Sometimes I get my kids to turn and talk about what their goal is from the I-Chart and then we reflect on that after our next attempt.
- Be consistent! Do it 3 times every day during the launch and stop when you need to because of inappropriate behaviours. It takes a little while to build up their muscle memories so they can't be expected to do it correct for extended periods right away.
Jane also commented that the kids were looking up to see if she was watching. I make a point of sitting at my guided reading table and not making eye contact with anyone. The room is so silent that I can hear when kids are off-task and those kids who want my attention know they aren't going to get it! Continue with the modelling for as long as you need to as well.
And just think, if you didn't take the time to build up their stamina, train their muscle memories and ensure they actually are reading good fit books, do you really think they will be on-task and reading once you start pulling groups for guided reading?