Text Genre Detectives!

We had a lot of fun during Reader’s Workshop today!

Our reading focus for the week is identifying literary elements in fiction texts. Today, we focussed on the literary element of genre. A genre is a type of text. Different genres have different features and we had a big discussion about some common genres:

  • Realistic Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Animal Fantasy
  • Mystery
  • Fairy tales
  • Folktales
  • Myths

In preparation for this lesson, students all brought in their favourite narrative book from home. It was great to see a wide range of books from lots of different authors in the collection!

The books were placed around the room and the students acted as ‘genre detectives’, spending time reading the books and deciding which genre each one was. They also had to document their reasons to justify their genre selection for each book.

***

To conclude and reflect on the lesson, we had a class discussion to make a final decision about the genre of each book. It was fantastic to see the students were mostly unanimous in their genre selection for every single book! This means they achieved the success criteria for the lesson and really built on their knowledge of text genres.

***

What is your favourite fiction genre? Describe the features of the genre.

Which books did you enjoy reading during this session?

What fiction genre might you start exploring?

Independent Reading

This week, we launched independent reading in our classroom.

We spend part of our daily Reader’s Workshop sessions doing independent reading, to practise strategies and work on our individual goals.

During independent reading, we aim to:

  • begin reading quickly and efficiently
  • read with stamina for the duration of the session
  • choose a good place to read and stay in that place
  • read silently.

 

After independent reading, we catch up with our “Reading Buddy” to discuss our books. This is a great opportunity to share our reflections, ask each other questions and learn about other books and authors from our peers.

***

What are you currently reading during independent reading?

Who is your favourite author?

What reading strategy would you like to focus on this term?

Do you have an all-time favourite book?

Author Study

This week in Reader’s Workshop, we are doing an author study.

We have collected lots of picture books written by a variety of authors.

We are reading the picture books to study each author’s style, themes and key ideas.

The authors we are focussing on include:

  • Margaret Wild
  • Mem Fox
  • Anthony Browne
  • Jackie French
  • Nick Bland
  • Alison Lester
  • Jeannie Baker
  • Julia Donaldson
  • Graham Base
  • Pamela Allen
  • Colin Thompson
  • John Burmingham

Students have set up a Google Sheet on their iPads to record their observations about each picture book they read.

***

What observations have you made during the author study so far?

Who is your favourite picture book author?

Do you have an all time favourite picture book?

Reader’s Workshop in 3/4C

Reading is a big part of our day.

We use the CAFE model in our Literacy Block every day. Each week we focus on a different reading strategy in class. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expand vocabulary. All of these areas of reading are extremely important and good readers know they need to read regularly to improve their skills.

We have a Reading Menu in our classroom. At the end of each week we put a strategy card on the menu.

***

This week, our reading strategy is Check for Understanding.

P1110248

When we check for understanding while reading a novel, we need to pause after reading a page or two and ask ourselves three questions:

  1. What just happened in the story?
  2. Who was in that part of the story?
  3. Where was that part of the story set?

This comprehension strategy help readers to understand their texts, and we will continue to build on our comprehension as the year progresses.

***

After working on our reading strategies collectively as a class each morning, the students then participate in 15 minutes of independent reading. During this time, they practise the strategy independently while reading “good fit” books.

P1110251

***

What reading strategies do you use?

What areas of reading do you want to work on this year?

What books do you like to read?

What Is The Best Book You Have Read This Year?

In 4B, the student participate in Reader’s Workshop each day.

Part of Reader’s Workshop involves independent reading. During independent reading, students spend time practising reading strategies with a “good fit” book of their choice.

P1090522

We have also read several class novels this year and we’ve also read plenty of mentor texts during writing. A mentor text helps us to to see what good writers do to create interesting stories. And of course, we have also read many picture story books during our weekly library sessions.

***

Miss Jordan loves to read and usually has a novel on the go at home. She also enjoys picture story books, particularly those with a message. Her favourite picture story book this year was The Stone Lion by Margaret Wild.

The Stone Lion

Here is a YouTube reading of the book. Hopefully you enjoy it as much as Miss Jordan and 4B did!

***

When Miss Jordan was in primary school, her favourite books were written by Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Graeme Base. Those authors are still popular today!

***

What is the best book that you have read this year?

Please include some details about the best book you have read this year. You could include information such as:

  • The genre
  • The plot
  • The characters
  • The writing craft that was used
  • Why you loved the book so much!

We look forward to hearing about your favourite read this year!

Novel Study – The One And Only Ivan

In 4B we love to read. At the start of the term we began a class novel titled The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate.

About the book

Ivan is a gorilla who lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade with his animal companions. While he is very used to this existence in his domain, he makes a change in his life and the lives of others, with the help of his friends. The One and Only Ivan is a work of fiction that is based on a true story.

Mrs Hembree, a teacher librarian in Seattle, USA, made a fabulous book trailer about The One and Only Ivan. We watched the book trailer before reading the story to tune us into the text.

Our reflections

Here are some of our thoughts and reactions about The One and Only Ivan. Please be aware that our reflections may contain spoilers!

***

What did you think about The One and Only Ivan? Do you have a reflection to add?

What did you think of the characters in this book?

Were there any special messages in The One and Only Ivan?

Can you recommend any other books that the students in 4B might enjoy?

It’s Book Week!

This week is Book Week!

Book Week

This year, the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) celebrates its 70th anniversary. The 2015 Book Week theme is “Books light up our world”. This is a wonderful message, as reading really is a wonderful past time and we can learn so much from what we read.

The CBCA runs Book Week each year, and our school always enjoys celebrating this national event. Books play such an important part in our learning, and to commemorate Book Week, our students are participating in the following activities:

* Dress up parade – students dress up as a book character and participate in the whole school parade.

* Multi-age art activity – students create artwork inspired by the 2015 shortlisted books.

* Borrowing competitions – students need to return their books in their library session to be in the draw for a prize.

* Book Fair – last week, students and parents had the opportunity to buy books from the Book Fair in our school foyer.

* Donate a book – students could buy a book from the Book Fair and donate it to the library.

***

During this term, we have enjoyed reading the CBCA short-listed picture books in our weekly library sessions. The “Book of the Year” nominations are all excellent books, with different styles and varied themes. Last week, students in all grades voted for their favourite short-listed picture book.

The slideshow below shows the nominated picture story books and some student reviews.

Today, we found out the BHPS picture books of the year:

  • Early Childhood (grades prep-2) – Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
  • Picture Book (grades 3-6) – The Stone Lion by Margaret Wild

The official CBCA winners were:

  • Early Childhood (grades prep-2) – Go To Sleep, Jessie by Libby Gleeson
  • Picture Book (grades 3-6) – My Two Blankets by Freya Blackwood

***

Today was Dress Up Day and we all enjoyed seeing the costumes students and teachers wore for the occasion. The parade in our school gym was fantastic!

Afterwards, all students enjoyed participating in a multi-age art activity inspired by the short-listed picture books.

Here are some photos of the 4B students in their fabulous costumes!

***

Thank you to Ms Browne and Mrs Petersen for organising Book Week and our multi-age art activities!

***

Who is your favourite book character?

Did any costumes stand out at the whole school parade?

Which 2015 short-listed book was your favourite and why?

How do books “light up your world”?

Tune Into Interesting Words

This week our reading strategy is Tune Into Interesting Words.

This strategy is part of the expand vocabulary area of reading. Good readers have a great vocabulary, which means they know and understand the meaning of lots of different words.

Tune into interesting words means you stop and think about words that are new, different or unusual while you read.

Knowing what these words mean helps you in all areas of literacy, as it improves your comprehension while reading and you can use the interesting words in your writing. Understanding interesting words also helps you with your speaking and listening.

In class, we have been recording interesting words from our class novel, picture story books and independent reading texts. Our challenge is to remember these words to use them in the future!

Miss Jordan looked through some books on her bookshelf at home and found lots of interesting words. She used Tagxedo to create a word cloud to share the words.

***

What interesting words do you know?

Can you write a blog comment including lots of interesting vocabulary? Ensure it makes sense!

Reading Strategies

Reading is a big part of our day.

We use the CAFE model in our Literacy Block every day. Each week we focus on a different CAFE reading strategy in class. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expand vocabulary. All of these areas of reading are extremely important and good readers know they need to read regularly to improve their skills.

We have a CAFE Menu in our classroom. At the end of each week we put a strategy card on the menu.

At the beginning of the year this is what our CAFE Menu looks like.

CAFE Menu 2

By the end of the year, it will look more like this!

CAFE Menu

***

Last week, our reading strategy was Check for Understanding.

P1090521

This week, our strategy is Make a Picture in your Mind.

P1090520

These two comprehension strategies help readers to understand their texts, and we will continue to build on our comprehension as the year progresses.

After working on our reading strategies collectively as a class each morning, the students then participate in 15 – 20 minutes of independent reading. During this time, they practise the strategy independently while reading “good fit” books.

P1090522

P1090525

***

What reading strategies do you use?

What areas of reading do you want to work on this year?

What books do you like to read?

Using Picture Books

One of our literacy focuses this year is using picture books to inspire us with our reading and writing.

We have been using picture books, or “mentor texts” for the past few months in our reading and writing lessons. Using mentor texts helps us to see what good writers do to create interesting stories.

Each time we read a picture book in class, we have discussions about techniques the author and illustrator have used to create their story. We learn from these authors and use their techniques in our own writing. Some of the things we discuss include:

  • Sizzling starts
  • Mighty middle
  • Excellent endings
  • Descriptive language
  • Similes, metaphors and idioms
  • Interesting word choice
  • Sentence fluency
  • Voice
  • How the text is sequenced and organised
  • The main idea of the text
  • Character development
  • A message or moral
  • How the illustrations impact on the story
  • The style of the illustrations
  • How the illustrations tell the story

We created this anchor chart to help us remember the elements that make a good picture book.

P1080724

***

Today in class, we read Flood by Australian author, Jackie French. This powerful picture book describes the 2011 Queensland floods. You can listen to Jackie reading the story in the clip below.

We read this book because our focus was “identifying how descriptive language can represent information”. Can you see how Jackie French used descriptive language to show us what the floods were like?

***

What is your favourite picture book? Why?

What did you think of the book, Flood?

How can we use picture books to help us with our writing?