Question Detail

Student Teaching 6th grade -

Jun 25, 2014 11:47am

I would like to implement a reading program similar to Donlyn Miller's reading program from the "Book Whisperer" during the spring semester of a 6th grade classroom. I would have about two months to have the students read a specific amount of books. So, how many books should I ask a 6th grader to read in two months? I was thinking 12 and 6 of the 12 books would needed to be nonfiction. I'd give them outlines of the genre for each book, but they could read whatever book they find in the school library, the classroom library, or from my collection. Is this doable? I will only be student teaching in 6th grade starting in March 2015 through the end of the school year. Thank you.

FYI: 6th grade class, all day in an Elementary School.

  • Arts / English Language Arts / Math / Science / Social Studies / Technology
  • 6
  • Engagement / English Language Learners / Planning / Special Education


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    • Jun 25, 2014 12:08pm

      Do you know anything about the demographics of the school where you'll be teaching? I haven't taught 6th--but have taught 7th. Unless you're talking about very short books, I cannot imagine them reading 12 books in 2 months. When I taught 7th grade, we had a guideline for books to be at least 100 pages. I'd estimate most of the students could/would read 10-15 pages a day. I'd say the max number of books they could read in two months would be 6.

      • Jun 26, 2014 2:23pm

        Consider first your objectives for this assignment and don't change the routine too much from their regular teacher.

        My students read books based on the # of AR (Accelerated Reading) points. In one trimester, students were required to read 7 points or higher, about 2 or more books depending on their reading levels. Another teacher's requirements were a total of 12 points, about 3-4 books, again depending on reading level. Other requirements were reading level and # of pages (<100 pages> Some high-level books are close to that or even below in some cases. Remember, students these days have lots of after school commitments, so present a lesson in organizing their time for home reading. Above all, you want to encourage a love of reading whether non-fiction or fiction.

        I chose points over books because I could monitor more closely the levels they were choosing.

        Create a competition between groups or individuals (or both) based on # of pages read, # of books read, etc. Create a thermometer or other fun type of tracking for each group and update each day/week.

        Consider book talks as an assessment. Book talks can be whole-class or small group and help students to develop their speaking and listening. In small groups, listeners could complete rubrics and ask questions.

        Whatever you decide, be sure to assign daily reading each day in class. You can use this time to listen to specific readers, check comprehension, or just check in with what they are reading.


        • Jul 1, 2014 5:52am

          Hi Anna-

          Before deciding on the number, it may be helpful to reflect on why the students will be reading. Are there specific standards you'll be focusing on? A number of books may not be as important as the types of books or the specific standards/strategies you'd like students to work toward while they are reading. For example, a voracious reader may choose a book that's over 500 pages, while another student may be reluctant or slow at processing, and therefore be reading a novella at 100 pages. It would be difficult to compare these texts - so it may be important to set out to have students work on different skills or strategies and they can work at their own pace to engage in reading that is important to them without having to cross a certain number of books off a list. I love the idea in theory, but for some students, the quantity may be a barrier to delving into quality literature. Also, will audio books be an option?

          Just some things to consider. (:


          • Jul 3, 2014 12:17pm

            Do you know the students' reading levels? What their reading history is? Do you have any English Language Learners? Special Education students? The best way to get students to read is to try to follow their interests... And you need to know a lot about the students in order to meet their needs. There are some lovely books out there on reading workshop. I'd be hesitant to set a number without knowing your students. The first thing I'd do is to do a reading profile so you learn about each of your students. Establish the units you'll teach. Make connections to your students and your interests. If you're all about the numbers, you won't be growing book lovers, you'll be raising students who check things off...