The Gateway Book

MindsinBloomButton2

I contributed a guest post to an upper elementary teaching blog, Minds in Bloom. The post is about helping kids find their gateway book and then using that gateway book to generate spin off books that build a love of reading. See my survival book list or the guest post for an explanation of a gateway book.

My favorite part of the article is the Book Trails. This is a list of books that can be generated from one starter book. Check out the post to see how to build your own book trail!

candy factory book trail

Here is a sample book trail for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Create a list of related books to keep a child reading.

Relax with a Magazine

cricket magazine

Sometimes, no matter what great books we try to coax children into reading, they just can’t get through a chapter book. Struggling readers can be overwhelmed by the length of longer reading selections, and they need materials that can be completed in one session. Picture books work but may give the impression that they are intended for little kids. Magazine subscriptions are a great alternative for school aged kids who are reluctant or struggling readers.

For information about using magazines to encourage struggling readers and improve comprehension, visit my guest blog post at EasyReadSystem. The article also includes a list of children’s magazine subscriptions and links for ordering.

egypt kids discover

And, a little grandparent tip– my parents give each of my children a magazine subscription every year for Christmas. My kids love (1) getting mail and (2) getting new “stories” every month.

Click here to read the full article and get names of magazine titles and ordering information.

Book Buddies

At one time, I tutored students in high school English. I started making notecards that had lists of key themes, symbols, and character traits. The students would use the notecard like a bookmark and have it with them while reading. The reminders on the card helped guide the students to mark useful quotes. Now that I am back in the classroom, I still make these notecard-bookmarks to help students focus their reading. They can be adapted for so many grade levels. Click Here to purchase Book Buddy templates.

mrs_frisby    year_of_the_boar  mockingbird

Summer Reading: Many students read a book in June but can’t remember the book in August when it is time to go back to school. Fill out a generic card while reading and use the card for review right before returning to school.

mrs. frisby bookmark sample

Elementary Grades: For younger grades, have students note details about the beginning, middle, and end of a story. Students can also list character details and identify the big problem in the story. This is a great way to practice summarizing and keeping things short!

year of the boar bookmark sample

Upper Elementary Grades: As students begin to look for deeper meaning in a story, create a card with the key ideas you want to teach in the novel.

to kill a mockingbird bookmark sample

Middle and High School: At this point, you can provide space on the card for themes, symbols, archetypes and key quotes. Customize the card with any literary details you prefer.

** The cards can be printed with blank space, and the students fill out the information as they read.  Or, depending on the needs of your students, you can create the cards with the key ideas provided.