What does it mean to honor book choice in your classroom? As students spend time sorting through bins in a classroom library, scrolling through a list of ebooks on their tablet or asking a librarian, teacher or friend for recommendations, students can choose books that pique their interest.
Book choice is essential for today’s reader. Students are used to searching for a YouTube video and swiping through a slideshow. They are comfortable picking up a magazine to flip through the pages. As adults, we are often less limited when it comes to choosing a new book or article to read – we’re often more in control of the reading material we dive into, with fewer people telling us what to read or making sure we’ve finished a book “on time.”
So how can we make sure that students have the opportunity to choose their own books? Why is book choice essential for today’s readers? I’ve outlined a handful of reasons why book choice is essential in the classroom. If you are preparing for World Read Aloud Day this year, revisiting your reading goals, or simply making a case for the power of independent reading, book choice is essential for readers of print and digital text.
World Read Aloud Day is a special event where people around the world come together to celebrate favorites books. This year World Read Aloud Day takes place on February 1st. You can learn more about this fantastic celebration of reading on LitWorld’s website.
Book Choice in the Classroom
Students can learn to take ownership of their learning when they are given the task of choosing their own books. When you model how you navigate a classroom library or share stories of your favorite books, you can set up students for success as they grow as lifelong readers. The folks at MoxieReader, an excellent tool I’ve shared before, gives students a space to document their reading throughout the school year.
Logging Read Alouds
When students have the chance to choose their own books they can learn to self-monitor and reflect on their choices. During informal conversations or formal conferences with students, you can check in with them about the decisions they are making as readers. You might encourage them to try out a new genre – not by picking out a specific book for them to read but providing a handful of options for them to explore. As students reflect on their reading experiences, you might ask them to identify new topics they would like to explore as well. As you share books with the class, you can log read alouds with MoxieReader to help students remember what books grabbed their attention as they prepare to choose their own independent reading book.
Students who have opportunities to choose their own books can dive deeper into favorite types of stories as well as topics they would like to learn more about this school year. Book choice is essential in classrooms where curiosity is valued. You might encourage students to brainstorm a list of topics they would like to learn more about. This can happen before they head to a classroom or school library.
As students dive into reading experiences where they choose their own books, they can share their books with friends. In addition to students letting their peers know what books are standouts for them, teachers can also share recommendations with individual students or groups of students in their classroom. Building a community of students who are comfortable talking about their favorite books can help make it easier for them to choose new books.
When students can seeing what other students are reading, they might be inspired by the book choices of their friends and peers. MoxieReader lets students share books with others but also show off to others what books they’ve read. Students can join in with their peers to read the same book or another favorite from the same author.
Creating opportunities for students to grow as lifelong readers is a best practice for every classroom. As you celebrate World Read Aloud Day or carve out time for daily independent reading, book choice is essential for today’s readers. Learn more about MoxieReader and their tool for classrooms by visiting their website!