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Self Selected Reading In the balanced literacy classroom By Leigh Daley Goals of the Self Selected Reading Block: Share different kinds of literature through teacher read-aloud Encourage children’s reading interests Provide instructional-level materials Build intrinsic motivation

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self selected reading

Self Selected Reading

In the balanced literacy classroom

By Leigh Daley

goals of the self selected reading block
Goals of the Self Selected Reading Block:
  • Share different kinds of literature through teacher read-aloud
  • Encourage children’s reading interests
  • Provide instructional-level materials
  • Build intrinsic motivation
what does the ssr block look like
What does the SSR Block look like?
  • Segment One – Teacher Read Aloud
    • 5 to 10 minutes
    • Variety of genres, topics, authors
  • Segment Two – Independent Reading and Conferencing
    • 15 – 20 minutes
    • Students read independently from selected material
    • Conferences with 3-5 students daily
  • Segment Three (Optional) – Sharing (5 min)
    • Several students briefly share with the group what they have read
    • The reader answers questions from classmates about the book. Teacher models appropriate questions children should ask.
teacher read alouds from becoming a nation of readers anderson et al 1985
Teacher Read Alouds - from Becoming a Nation of Readers, (Anderson et al, 1985)
  • Reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for creating the motivation and background knowledge essential for success in reading. It is hard to imagine any other activity that is so simple to do yet has so many benefits, such as:
Building children’s motivation for becoming lifelong readers
  • Increasing background knowledge on many topics
  • Developing listening and speaking vocabularies
  • Teaching about story elements and structure
  • Getting ideas for writing from books they have heard
  • Providing vicarious experiences for children with limited firsthand experience
besides that
Besides that….
  • If you SKIP this block…when will you get your assessments and individual student conferencing and assistance done???
variations in read aloud material
Variations in Read Aloud Material
  • Variety, which is important in all teaching activities, is particularly important in the choice of books read aloud to children.
  • A survey of 537 elementary classroom teachers found that not one of the most frequently listed read-aloud titles at any grade level was a nonfiction book.
  • In the last decade, many of the best new children’s books have been nonfiction titles. (Gail Gibbons, Joanna Cole, Seymour Simon)
  • A child who does not like to read is a child who has not found the right book.
teacher read alouds
Teacher Read Alouds
  • 5-10 Minutes EVERY day.
  • Teacher models what good readers do
  • Bless books for children.
  • Author studies (Jan Brett, Carol Hurst)
  • Read aloud can be text from Social Studies or Science
  • Children are exposed to various genres-fiction, poetry, nonfiction, biographies… Suggestions can be found at the SSR link off Literacy Lane.
independent reading and conferencing
Independent Reading and Conferencing:
  • Variations in where children read:
    • Tables with book crates
    • Centers (big books, magazines, class authored books, science reading centers, author centers, taped books centers, computerized books)
  • Variations in how children read:
    • In first grade, we use “pretend reading”, “picture reading,” and reading the words.
    • Beyond first grade, if a student needs the first two strategies, they are done during the conference time.
  • Variations in conferencing:
    • Teacher’s desk
    • Student’s desk
basic conference procedure
Basic Conference Procedure
  • The student reads a page or two from his chosen book.
  • The teacher asks a question or two.
  • The teacher encourages the student to look at reading from a writer’s point of view.
  • If students have been working on a particular comprehension skills during Guided Reading, the teacher may ask questions that help the child apply these skills to the book he’s chosen.
  • Use open ended questions to help children form opinions and tell about their reading preferences.

As the year progresses and children become fluent readers, there is more discussion and less reading aloud during the conference time.

The teacher may also want to help children anticipate the focus of the conference.

general questions to ask
General questions to ask:
  • Why did you choose this book?
  • Have you read any other book by this author? Which one?
  • Is your book a fiction book or nonfiction book? How can you tell?
  • What do you think will happen next? Why do you say that?
  • How did the author make the facts interesting in this book? Show me an example.
questions to encourage thinking like a writer
Questions to encourage thinking like a writer.
  • How did the author let you know that the main character was scared?
  • Why was the beach a good setting for the story?
  • If you had written this story, would you have chosen the same setting? Why or why not?
  • Did you learn anything from this book that you can use in your own writing? If so, what?
questions to apply to guided reading
Questions to apply to Guided Reading:
  • Who are the characters?
  • What is the setting?
  • Was there a problem and did it get solved?
  • Can you tell me what happened at the beginning, middle and end of your story?
  • What new facts did you learn from this book?
  • This book has wonderful pictures of real places. Tell me about the pictures and what you learned from them.
  • Can you explain this chart about the parts of the animal’s body to me?
  • Can you read the map and explain where he traveled?
open ended questions
Open Ended Questions
  • Do you like this book? Why or why not?
  • What did you think about this book?
  • What didn’t you like about this book?
  • What was your favorite part?
  • Who was your favorite character? Why?
  • Did the book have any pictures you really liked? Which ones?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned in this book?
  • What was the funniest (saddest, most surprising, silliest, strangest) part of this book?
more about conferences
More about conferences
  • Special time to get to know the individual child.
  • 5-10 minutes with each child. (two or three each day)
  • Conferences for fluency check. Running Records.
  • Conferences to discuss story elements.
  • Conferences to make a personal connection to the text. (build background knowledge)
  • Teacher Question Cards for all grade levels.
golden rules for independent reading
Golden Rules for Independent Reading:
  • Use whisper phones.
  • Stay with the same book(s) each day.
  • Build time to read gradually up to 20 minutes.
  • Schedule set time each day.
  • Be ready for your conference time (Cue Cards, Bookmarks)
  • No talking---this is time for silent reading.
  • Do not take AR test during SSR time.
  • Please do not interrupt the teacher during a conference. (sign)
helping students choose books
Helping students choose books:
  • Interest Inventory
  • Model the 5 Finger Rule.
  • Guide students to their appropriate level books.
  • Don’t lose the focus of AR.
  • Bless books.
  • Expose children to various genres and authors.
  • Reading Star.
help with book levels
Help with book levels:
  • AR Level
  • Reading Recovery Level
  • Guided Reading Level (Fountas and Pinnell)
  • DRA
  • Grade Level (Beginning grade level 1.1; second half of grade 1.2)
  • Wright Group
  • See Correlation Table
  • Help with Leveling Books
sharing variations
Sharing Variations
  • A reader’s chair – one or two children get to share
  • Kiddie-type microphones to “command” attention
  • A TV cutout – be the TV reporter
  • Reading parties
  • Sharing with other classes
  • “Magic” wands for students to bless books
  • Share Award Certificates
For many of us, being read to as a child or reading a little before “lights out” was a familiar bedtime ritual. In homes today, television, computers, and video games have all but replaced this reading event. How much a child reads is the best indicator of how well that child reads – the best readers read a lot. Children who don’t like to read simply have not found the right book.
Children who have been read to regularly and who have time each day to read books will become readers. Readers are not just people who CAN read – readers are people who DO read! In years gone by, the Self-Selected Reading Block was usually done at home! Our Self-Selected Reading Block ensures that all children experience daily read-alouds and time for reading books of their choice and on their own level.

Cunningham, P, Hall, D, & Sigmon, C (1999). The Teacher's Guide to the Four Blocks. Greensboro: Carson-Dellosa.