Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Yorkers Read

I am in the thick of the New Yorkers Read program. The materials arrived at the end of last week so this week has been largely devoted to rolling out the program.

I have visited every class in grades 3 to 6 and invited the students to sign up to be "Reading Ambassadors." Those that sign up get a passport to record their reading. The passport also explains the requirements to be recognized as a Reading Ambassador: Read (and talk about) 15 books between now and June 3. Write two book reviews. Rad across at least 5 Dewey areas. Find 2 adults to fill out a postcard saying what they read and why they read. (I read____ because____)Every student is also given an "I read-because" postcard during my spiel in their classroom.

So far 126 students have signed up for the program! Admittedly, the passport is rather cool looking, and provides a nice incentive. Students are also promised recognition at the end of year ceremonies, but the enthusiasm right now is almost scary. So here is the awkward part: How will I manage to listen to all those "book talks so I can stamp the passports?" I will have to budget some time in my schedule each and every day if I will even get close to hearing from every student. I have some ideas about how to manage this problem of "flow," but I probably should pass them by my principal so I don't step on any toes.

A big part of New Yorkers Read is encouraging diverse reading. (That's the point of the whole read across at least 5 Dewey areas piece.) To make that more enticing a big chunk of the grant is a substantial non-fiction collection. The first half of this collection arrived about 2 weeks ago and is already on the shelves (or checked out.) The second half should arrive this week. There are some fabulous books in this collection! I try and read a couple of new non-fiction books each day, but as I explain to the students who ask, it just isn't possible for me to read all the books.

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