In second grade, students build upon the basic foundations of literacy. As they master basic phonics and move on to literature, they begin to create their identity as a reader. Studies of best practice indicate that allowing students to select their own reading books highly increases their interest and motivation.
To make sure we encourage our students’ interests and motivations, our literacy block is set up to enable and encourage this best practice!
Students get to go “shopping” weekly. They absolutely LOVE going to the classroom library to look for new books. Each student is allowed to have 7 books in their book bin.
The library is set up with a wide range of genres to ensure students have access and exposure to a variety of literature.
The first requirement for book selection is finding a just right book. Students use the anchor chart posted in our room as a guide, but then take ownership of their own levels and learning by determining what book they think is just right for them.
Being cognizant of their own level helps them reflect on what they know and where they need to get. Also finding “uphill” books encourages students to work even harder at reading so that they can read those books.
2-3 books match the spiral/genre that we are learning about, so after students have time in independent reading, they use books of the correct genre to work on their own strategies.
The amazing part of this is that all students are utilizing essential strategies that help them become strong, functional readers - but doing it with books that they are interested in and that match their reading level. This differentiation allows each student to feel confident while independently applying reading strategies, rather than providing a single text that doesn’t meet the needs of every single student.
For example, one second grade standard is about making text to text, text to self, and text to world connections. Students learned about the process through interactive read alouds, modeling and mini-lessons. They then applied the learning to books they had self selected for their book bin.
The most amazing part of this literacy experience is the joy, motivation and love that students begin to find in reading. They learn that reading is not just for school, work, but for pleasure. They learn that reading can take you all over the world, that it can make you cry and laugh. They learn that reading is not a task, but a way of life.