Whether you are planning ahead for a vacation, or want to be prepared for those inevitable sick days, having a library substitute binder is a game-changer. Instead of hours spent preparing for a day out of the library or a frantic call to school trying to organize things for a day off, you have a ready-to-go sub binder. What is a library substitute binder? Think of this binder as the holder of all your library secrets (or just the really important stuff). It’s the one-stop-shop for your essential class information. It allows anyone to pop into your place, and pick up where you left off – with ease. If you’ve ever had to cover a class, you know how challenging it can be when there is no information present. Sometimes you’re lucky to get a class roster! It’s confusing. Suddenly, you’re depending on the students to know what they
When you think of reading, charts and graphs probably aren’t the first things to come to mind. But when reading nonfiction texts, these elements play a role in understanding the text. Many times I’ve asked students to read a caption or refer to information from a chart, only to get a blank stare back. This just tells me how important it is to directly teach text features in nonfiction. What are nonfiction text features? Text features are the elements of an informational text not found within the main body of the text. This includes elements that come before and after the text (such as the table of contents or glossary) and the elements surrounding the text (such as labels and graphs). To help students understand the importance of text features, I like to give them a few examples. In one example, I will have them read directions to another
It’s library check-out time, and you’re wishing you had six more arms and three sets of eyes. Between checking out books, figuring out overdue books, and managing other students in the library – it can feel like a full-time job for at least three people. And yet, it’s just you.  I wanted to share some library activities that can help check-out time run smoothly. These activities are meant to keep other students busy and on task, while you man the check-out counter. I’ll also give some library activities for students with overdue books, who are unable to check out a new book. #1 Keep a Box of Weeded Out Books When you go through and weed out old books, instead of tossing them or leaving them in the hallway, keep them in a box. During check-out time, allow students to search through the box and find a book they
If there is one thing that makes people fall in love with reading, I believe it is the ability to visualize. The ability to take the words on a page and turn them into a mental movie. It’s visualizing that allows you to immerse yourself into a book and escape the here and now. While this skill comes naturally for some, it is a skill that often needs to be taught and practiced for many. Today I am sharing my favorite picture books for teaching visualizing. How to Teach Visualizing Teaching students to visualize is such a fun activity that students really love. Why? I believe it is because it connects two of their favorite things – being read to and drawing. Over the years I have found that the best way to focus on this skill is by reading to the students and having them listen. This takes
Have you thought about creating a book walk, but not exactly sure what it is or how to create one? The good news is that running a book walk in your classroom or library is pretty simple (and if you set it up just right, you can reuse your book walk materials for years to come). What is a Book Walk? A book walk is like a gallery walk, but for books! It works best with picture books or books with lots of graphics, like a graphic novel. During a book walk, students will move around the room and look at each page of the book. This is a great way to incorporate movement into reading. If you have students who just can’t seem to sit still in their seats, this can be a great solution. It’s also just a nice way to change up your reading routine and
Summarizing and paraphrasing can be difficult skills for students to master. Often they do not understand the differences between the two and when to use them. In the library, I review these skills when I do any type of research project. Teaching a skill in context is always more effective than teaching it in isolation.  The Difference Between Summarizing and Paraphrasing Summarizing is retelling the main idea in your own words. A summary should be short and to the point. Only the most important ideas should be included. Whereas paraphrasing is retelling the text in your own words. These two concepts are very similar which leads to the confusion many students have.  How I Teach My Students About Summarizing and Paraphrasing This is why I created my Summarizing and Paraphrasing Activity Pack. This activity pack is designed to engage your students in meaningful practice in key reading skills with