Frequently Asked Questions's about Self-Selected Reading Block - Go Back

Do you read chapter books during the read-aloud?

Yes, but we don't want to limit ourselves to chapter books. One of the main purposes of the read-aloud time is to encourage students to read. We're letting them know what's available in the class to read, and we're introducing them to the wide variety of materials available-genres, topics, authors, illustrators, and forms of writing. So, you'll want to include newspaper clippings, riddles, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, biographies and, sometimes, just some snippets of books.

Should we gather grades during this block?

I sincerely hope you won't! This block is created to encourage students to establish a habit of reading-and, hopefully, an intrinsic desire to read. There are many other opportunities to gather grades, so let's try not to reduce this block to numbers or letters. Let's just let them read for enjoyment!

What should I include in the book baskets that I'll put on the students' tables?

To fill the baskets with about 25+ books, you'll need to consider a range of readabilities, topics of interest to students, different authors and illustrators you want to expose students to, varied genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biographies, mysteries, fantasy, science fiction, etc.), and a variety of forms of printed materials (magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, etc.). And, don't forget about using the baskets to convey how important reading is in our everyday lives-recipe books, travel brochures, pamphlets from vets/doctors/dentists/ etc.

When will I begin having conferences with students?

When the class settles down and seems to appreciate the 15-20 minutes of sustained reading time that you've given them. In the beginning of the school year, you'll spend your time going around, table to table, to sit and model what you expect of the students. Then, once they "get it", you'll equally divide your students among the days of the week and conference with 3-5 students daily for a few minutes each. It's special time when you have their undivided attention, and they have yours!

When should students start the sharing segment of SSR Block?

Right away! We want students to know that much of the joy of reading goes beyond their interaction with the printed page. We want them to know that talking about books is just as important-drawing correlations between what we read and what we encounter in our lives. Reading often helps us to make sense of our lives. I think you'll notice, too, that students' behavior is better during their independent reading time if they know that you'll give them some time to share after they've read.