Story Retell Notebooks
For Newcomers who can not read independently, simply ask students to retell stories with words or pictures. Here is more on story retells as early response to stories for beginners. Students can watch their story retells build overtime. Perhaps ELLs may want to pick their best retell or illustration to submit to The Great English Reading Project.
Used with Free Voluntary Reading for intermediate learners, Readers Notebooks can be a safe place for children to respond to text when they are ready to start reading independently.
Start with an introductory Me as a Reader section where students record reading strategies (ex. drawing a cozy place at home to read), track books/minutes read, and reflect on their growth as a reader. Use prompts like these examples to help children begin to think about themselves as readers.
Then then bulk of the notebook will be a Readers Response section. Children self-select books and read, then reflect on text in pictures or words. The purpose of responding to text is not writing practice but rather to build excitement for reading.
Guidelines for evaluating notebooks:
- Students should have total creative control and be encouraged to personalize notebooks. Here are some ideas for notebook alternatives if students are hesitant to write.
- Avoid setting daily quotas: some days children will write or draw more, some days less. Asking students to submit the best reflection of the week may be appropriate.
- Notebooks should feel like a diary, not a test, and so should be corrected as little as possible.
- Conference routinely with each child about their reflections. Here is a detailed explanation of Readers Conferences.