The #classroombookaday Challenge: How to Share Your Class's Reading Progress

I'm so excited to join the #classroombookaday challenge! It is so important to read thought-provoking, engaging literature to our students everyday, especially for our students who may not get that opportunity at home.

I attended an IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment) training recently, and they talked about the importance of reading engagement. The first stage in their book leveling system is called 'Read to Me (RTM).' It states, "The RTM level represents the 2,000 hours of reading experiences (being read to, interactions with books) that is typical of the successful readiness reader to build the vocabulary, background knowledge, language experience, reading identity, attention span, genre exposure, and phonemic awareness to be ready to use the print on the page to read (iv)."

If students need 2,000 hours of experience with books to develop the readiness skills they need to understand how books work and begin to form their reading identity, then we need to be intentional  about making time for that in our classrooms. If students miss that foundational step, and instead we jump right into teaching students HOW to read the print on the page, we may end up teaching kids to hate reading because they have not yet had enough life experience to understand the purpose or enjoyment of reading.

The #classroombookaday challenge is a perfect opportunity to intentionally build that foundation, no matter what grade level you teach. "#classroombookaday was started by Jillian Heise (@heisereads) during the 2014-2015 school year, inspired by Donalyn Miller's (@donalynbooks) #bookaday challenge. With a goal to read aloud a picture book every day of the school year for a #bookaday with her 7th & 8th grade students, 180 complete texts were shared that grew classroom community and reading engagement." Click here for even more information about the #classroombookaday challenge.

I've already started collecting books for the challenge, and I'm compiling a list of book recommendations using wakelet (check it out on the bottom of this post). I'll continue adding to it, so feel free to follow me on wakelet @estout and Instagram @teacherstuff4U if you want to see my collection of recommendations.

I've seen teachers post different variations of huge wall displays in which they make copies of the book covers they read and hang them on the wall to share what they are reading for the #classroombookaday challenge. While it looks really cute, that seems like A LOT of work for the teacher! I'd like to make it easier to share and give the students more buy-in by having them do more of the work. 😉

First, my plan is to have the student with the classroom job "photographer" take a picture of the book we read each day and post it on SeeSaw. I have enabled the SeeSaw classroom blog so we can collaborate with other students and talk about books. Please comment below if you are a SeeSaw user and you'd like to connect with my class through the SeeSaw blog this year and talk about books! Here are some quick resources on how to use the SeeSaw blog:

I'm sure some people are still thinking: But what about the students and adults walking by my classroom? I want them to see what we are reading too. I have a plan for that! I attended a training about innovation with guest speakers John Spencer, author of LAUNCH, and Dr. Robert Dillon, author of The Space: A Guide For Educators. Dr. Dillon talked about the power of the whole learning process, not just the products created by students. Gone are the days of showing off "perfect" products as proof of student learning. The real learning happens when students are problem solving, thinking critically, and iterating. He encouraged us to add pictures of those steps on bulletin boards so we are valuing the learning that happened through the work being done. That gave me the idea to use a digital picture frame!

I got a skylight digital picture frame for Christmas, and I'm going to hang it in the hallway this year to share the awesome work students are doing AND to share the books we are reading for our challenge! The skylight frame seemed like the perfect tool for the job because it is so easy to add new pictures. With this frame, you set up an email account through skylight and just email the pictures or videos that you want added to the digital picture frame. It's as easy as that! No uploading with thumb drives or cords. In fact, I shouldn't have to touch the picture frame at all to add new photos. I can't wait to give it a try!

So I'm ready to start our #classroombookaday challenge on the first day of school AND share our progress! I can't wait to see who else is going to take on this challenge this school year! 

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