Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It - Independent Reading Notebooks

I'm asking forgiveness in advance for two things. 1. I know most of my posts lately have been Monday Made Its. What can I say? I love this link up! 2. Please ignore any errors or nonsensical bits of this post. We had to take one of the rats to the emergency vet last night. Got to bed at 1 am, then up a few hours later, so I'm a bit beat.

Ok, so I am really excited to share this made-it because it was a long time coming. Last year was my first foray into Reading Workshop. Although I didn't really have any other upper grade teachers on campus to go to for help, I did enjoy it, and I am trying it again this year with some tweaks and adjustments. I have to give a big shout out to my friend Dana at Learning Required who helped me along the way and was always there to answer my questions.

So, last year my students had reading binders. I bought each student a black binder for about a buck and had them all prepared with dividers and a pencil bag. These were solely used for reading time. Man those binders were cheap! By the end of the year they all had one place to go...the trash. Besides the fact that they didn't last long, they were a pain to maintain. I would ask students to put handouts in, and half of them wouldn't make it. We'd have to take a special day just to organize the binders. Did I mention the word pain?

Yeah, so this year I decided to use the amazing binding machine to make my own Independent Reading Notebooks. These took me weeks, literally, to prepare. But once they were done it was so satisfying. And so far, the kiddos are taking great care of them and using them just as I taught them.

Let me give you a tour of some of the pages.

Our district has really emphasized Marzano's Learning Goals and Scales over the past few years. Each of the notebooks has several of these tracking forms for students to write the learning goals and indicate where they are at the beginning, middle, and end of each concept. Although I have the scale posted on both sides of my room, they have right there in the notebook too. And speaking of Marzano's scales, have you seen these adorable Star Wars ones from Daisy's Bookbag? Too stinking cute! I think I need them!

Back to the tour...
 Each student has a genre tracking form, as well as page describing the common genres (not pictured). The pages following this are their reading log where they track what they read each day (not pictured).

Students periodically write me a letter about their reading, how it is going, what is going well, and what they are struggling with. I've included some useful letter writing pages, as well as lined paper right in the notebook. No need for loose paper running away, I'll just collect the notebooks when I need to check their letters and write back to them.

I'm really big on students using sticky notes to "show" their thinking as they read. To hold them accountable they keep all their sticky notes in their notebook. I also have something else I'm working on to help keep them focused with their sticky note writing.

There you have it! My awesome Independent Reading Notebooks. If you are a Reading Workshop teacher I'm sure you've recognized that I've recycled a lot from Fountas and Pinnell as well as the amazing Beth Newingham. I love that teachers share their knowledge so that we can help all students be super readers!

And, as always, thanks to the lovely Tara of Fourth Grade Frolics for hosting my favorite link-up!

I hope my post was acceptable...time to crawl into bed about three hours earlier than normal!


  1. Are you going to be posting these in your TPT store? This is on my to-do list before school starts and yours looks amazing!

  2. Mrs. Stewart, I'm still working on making them TpT ready. I'll keep you posted!

  3. Hey Ms. W,
    It's 2020 and I see this was posted in 2014. I went to your TPT store and I didn't see this available. I would love to incorporate this. Do you believe this will eventually be available?

    1. Hi Mrs. Anderson! Wow, that was awhile ago! Unfortunately these never turned into a TpT product. I'm not even sure I still have the files! You are welcome to email me at nasreenwahid at gmail dot com and if I can locate them I can send them your way.


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