Saturday, February 13, 2016

Book Bands: Changing the Conversation

Our district has a great literacy department! We have amazing reading specialists that have been highly trained, having made multiple trips to New York to learn directly from the Teacher's College. We also have a fantastic communication and roll out system through what they have coined "Literacy Leaders." Each grade level, at every building has one (or sometimes two) "literacy leaders." These teachers receive professional development and have helped to organize our reading units to best meet the needs of Elmbrook Schools. They work hand-in-hand with our amazing reading specialists. I have the good fortune of sharing this role for our 4th grade team with our amazing teammate, Lynn. 

Recently, we had a literacy leader meeting that focused on the research happening surrounding "Book Bands." Many of you, like us, utilize Fountas and Pinnell leveling with our classroom libraries. The research and information that has been coming out lately surrounds not just the individual levels, but rather BANDS of levels. Each band of books carries with it specific characteristics that are often found in books at those levels. Knowing these levels and the attributes of each, can really change the conversation and awareness of reading.

In our space, we used our historical fiction unit to introduce these ideas to our kiddos. We incorporated it into part of our launch. We took each band of books, and went through what kids could expect from the bands. We referred to them as "Pillars of Reading"--because like structural pillars, this knowledge will support our comprehension and work while reading. It will "hold us up" as we read. 

We, then, had them take the conversation to their book clubs. Within their book clubs, they discussed the bands, and what tricky parts they might encounter. We, then, had them set a personal goal of a component to work on or make note of while working in their book club book.
We also created "pillar" anchor charts that will now permanently hang in our classroom.

Following this work, as kids continued working in their book clubs, we found they needed something more immediate to support this new learning. So, I created a personal bookmark for each band. It works just like a personal anchor chart, is two-sided, and it also has a spot to write their personal book band goals.
Click the image to download this for free! :)
It certainly has helped keep the book bands in the forefront of the conversation and their independent reading.

Have you been using book bands? If so, how? We'd love to learn with you! Sound off below!

Happy Teaching!


No comments:

Post a Comment