Steven Layne – Write to Learn Conference 2010

By Mary Jo Barker, State Coordinator


I just spent an incredible day with Steven Layne at the Write to Learn Conference.

While I loved his book, Igniting a Passion for Reading, the day with him was even better!

Can there be a better topic for teachers than the how-to for creating lifelong readers of your students?  And, Steven Layne ignites teachers with multiple strategies for creating those lifelong readers in our classrooms.  So, let me share a few more.

READ AROUNDS – This is a GREAT way to generate excitement about books!  It will also expose every reader to a wide range of books quickly while allowing students to spend a few extra minutes with the books that appeal to them.  Here’s how to get started.

· Begin with teaching students how to preview a book in advance of this activity.  

· Start this activity by putting a book or magazine on every desk. (for grades 2 and above)  Ask the younger students to sit in a circle on the floor.  

· Remind students how to preview a book.

· Tell students that they will be given one minute and 30 seconds to preview the book in front of them.  Everyone begins.

· When you say “pass” the students pass the book to the person on the right IF they want.  Students may choose to keep the book and pass it on the next round.  Students may keep a book for three “preview” sessions during this activity or keep three different books for a second “preview” session.  You may want to use a colored card for students to place on the desk to signify that the book is being kept for an additional “preview” period.  

· The teacher has only one job.  The teacher calls out “pass” when it is time to pass the book to the next person.  Vary the time for “previewing” to keep the activity fresh.  In case traffic jams occur, keep a few extra books in your hands.

· Wrap up this activity by allowing the students to walk around and write the names of the books that interested them on a sheet for listing books that they want to read in the future.

I think this would be a fun activity to do with adults at a staff meeting or IRA local council meeting.  It would be a great way to expose adults to new children’s books, professional books, or adult books for pleasure reading.  

GOLDEN RECOMMENDATION SHELF – A shelf or bookcase to hold all your favorite books even a few from your childhood.  You may want to display these books on stands so that students can see and appreciate the cover.  You will also want a special sign-out log for these titles.  Be sure to tell the story behind each book so the students will understand why it is special to you.  You might like spray painting it gold.

ELEMENTARY/YA CAFE  – Here’s a great idea to reach your reluctant readers!  There are three key components – teachers who want to promote reading, great books, and food!  The café can be scheduled before school, after school, or during lunch.  The teacher begins by explaining why this book was chosen and gives enough background about the book to get readers interested. He/she reads aloud for approximately 30 minutes from the book.  Then, there is time for questions, discussion, and/or check out in the library.  You will want to feature a different teacher in every Café session.

If you try any of these ideas or one that was shared earlier, I would love to hear your results.

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