Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book Envelopes & Accelerated Reader!

Hi friends! Kelly here from Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten. It's the 22nd of the month again which means it's my turn to share some ideas with you!                                                                         
Today I want to talk about something new that I've implemented in my first grade classroom… 

As the year has progressed, my students have been so eager to take home books from our class library, especially as more of my students are able to read now independently. So I came up with a simple book envelope system to help keep my firsties organized! 

Something big that my class is working on right now is RESPONSIBILITY!! I wanted my kiddos to understand that if I was allowing them to take home books from our class library, they were responsible for making sure that the books stayed in good shape and made it safely back to the library. 
I decided to have all of my kiddos sign an agreement, and we talked about what a big responsibility it was to take care of their books. 

Essentially, the way the system works is that my kids keep a book in their envelope at all times. They take it to and from school every day. My students also take Accelerated Reader tests on the computer on most of the books they read. Most of the books that they keep in their envelopes are "AR" books. So, usually, I have my kids pick out a new book for their envelope after they have taken and passed an Accelerated Reader (AR) test on the book they've been working on. 

I don't let my kiddos get a new book every day. I really want them to be successful with their comprehension, and have them read their book multiple times. My high kids get a new book about three times a week. My lower students sometimes keep the same book all week. 

Here's the cover of their book envelopes. Next school year, I plan to laminate these so that we can use them all year long! 

The books that my students put in their envelopes are organized by AR level. 
My kids all know which basket they are supposed to pick from. 

My students also sit in table groups of 5 or 6 students, and the groups are labeled by ability. Now, some teachers may not agree with grouping their students this way. However, it really works for me as I have a larger class and no extra aide or help. I am easily able to differentiate and give each table different assignments to work on if necessary. I am also able to re-teach concepts to certain tables of kids while other tables work independently. 

Having my kids in these table groups also makes it easier for them to check out books. I can literally take baskets from my library and put them in the middle of each table for students to pick their new book. They love helping each other and recommending titles to their friends. :) 
Here's a look at part of my library. 

At this point in the school year, I still have a couple of EL students who are not quite ready to take AR tests on the computer, as they are still working on decoding and are not reading fluently. I have these kiddos check out a Bob Book for their envelope. Bob Books are awesome for helping children build their reading confidence!

I just LOVE my library labels!! And guess what!? They are EDITABLE!! My friend and fellow Primary Pack blogger Alisha over at Missing Tooth Grins made them. I have loved using them this year in my classroom! They make organizing my library so easy. Thanks Alisha! :) 

Do you use Accelerated Reader in your classroom!?? 

My first graders love it for comprehension, and I do too!
Last year when I taught Kinder, my kiddos used it too, but it was a very different process. My Kinders needed a lot more guidance and support. They picked one book for the week, and tested on their book on Fridays. It was very difficult for me to have kids test daily as I only had one computer in my classroom.

My high kids were able to test pretty much every week, but I had to create a reading log to help them and their parents keep track.

If you use AR in your classroom, feel free to click on the picture below to download an EDITABLE FREE version of this reading log! 

My Kinder kiddos also would start using AR at different times throughout the school year based on their abilities. I had a letter ready to go that I would send home to parents each time one 
of my kiddos started using AR. 
Click on the picture below to download an EDITABLE FREE version of this letter to use in your classroom! 
The graphics on my reading log and AR letter are from one of my favorite clipart artists: Whimsy Clips. I just love her stuff!! And the border is from Bubbly Borders and More! 

Interested in trying out Book Envelopes in your own classroom!? I have a TPT pack that includes everything that I posted about today, AND it is editable! You can write your own book agreement for your students to sign to meet your classroom needs. :) 
This pack is ONSALE in my store this weekend! 
Click on the picture below to check it out! 

Thanks for stopping by today friends! I hope you have a great Sunday! :) 

1 comment:

  1. I work as an English teacher in Spain.
    It was really refreshing to read your ideas!
    I'm creating the class and school library with English titles.
    Could you please recommend me some of them?
    I teach English and Science (in English, what we call Bilinguism in Spain) to both kindergarten, first and second graders.
    My kiddos are improving their level of English as I try to do my best!
    Any suggestions are more than welcome!
    Thanks for sharing all your resources!
    Please, keep in touch!