Started a Reading Club

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This is a project I wish my teachers had done with me when I was a student. Its main goal is to help students develop the reading habit.

Every week, students choose a book in the school’s library and take it home to read. After reading, they must rate it by colouring stars in their reading log. Sometimes they will have some kind of activity to do about the book, such as describing their favourite character.

Parents are involved in the project by having to sign the log and helping their child choose a good time to read and a comfortable place in the house. Even if they cannot speak English, they can help by providing an adequate reading environment.

After reading five books, there will be a bigger activity where students will produce something for the community. For instance, they will choose their favourite book, take it home again and read it to as many people as they can and report the experience. Or maybe they will write a book recommendation for the school’s library’s bulletin board saying what were the best things about the book.

My students were really excited after the first week of the project. Even though some of them forgot to return the book, they all read their books and filled in the log and were excited to take another book home – or sad they could not take it home because they can only take a new book when they return the other one.

It is a very simple project anyone can do if there is a library at school. I believe it is very important to share projects like this, especially in our sometimes ‘over-technologic’ environment, so that children can see that there are other fantastic worlds to be discovered away from the computer screens. 🙂

Image via Pinterest.

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Wrote about their favourite books

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Today we continued our project that we started in the previous lesson. I wanted my students to write about their favourite books, focusing on the description of a character. I was quite happy with the results.

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I decided to follow a Process Writing approach with elements of Product Writing because they had a model to follow. Here it is step by step and a picture of the board with the:

  • Students had the information they needed for the text (title, author, type of book, favourite character, description);
  • I wrote a model of my text on the board, by eliciting student’s suggestions on how to phrase the information;
  • Students wrote a draft of their texts on their notebooks and gave me to correct;
  • Students wrote the final version of the project (posters) and drew their favourite character.
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I am quite proud of my board skills in this one 🙂

It was a very simple approach that required little preparation on my part. It wasn’t very open for students to produce ‘new language’, though. They had quite a fixed model to follow, but some of them did try to include some plot details, like the one who wrote about the adventures of Tin Tin, who asked me how to say ‘ the captain was a drunk’ (haha!). However, to me, they needed just to be aware of how to write about the basic details of a book and to make the connection with what we have been focusing on by describing the character. And this objective was met by all of them.

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Talked about their favourite books

Last class, I showed my students some books, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Mulan, Sinbad, Sherlock Holmes stories, and so on. There was a good variety of genres and plots. We played a game where I would describe the story and they had to snap the correct book. It was fun and they were curious about some of the stories. So, we decided to vote on a book they would like to read together and they chose an adapted version of Mulan.

Something I like about the course book is that there is a CLIL section – which is a very soft version of CLIL, but anyway – and this time they are supposed to write about their favourite books. Since we were describing people’s facial features, they also have to describe their favourite character.

Today, I had them bring their favourite books and they wrote the basic information: title, author, type of book, favourite character, short description of their favourite character. Then, we sat in a circle and they shared this information. In order to make sure they paid attention to what their friends were saying, in the end of the activity I asked if they remembered something about their friend’s favourite book. There was a lot of emergent language in this activity, but I am still a bit frustrated that some of them only said “I like this book because I like it, it’s nice”.

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So, this unit’s project is going to be a description of their favourite books and characters. They are going to produce a poster with a short text. As I am trying to demand more from my students in terms of language production, I will also ask them to write their opinion of the book and, in the end, they will share their production to see if they are interested in reading any of their friend’s favourite books.

Let’s see how this goes. 🙂

Images via Google