Chapter Books

This year I have taken a different approach to teaching reading in my classroom. I have completely thrown out the basal reader and am taking on chapter books with my students. Two weeks ago, my students and I finished Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.

Students were introduced to the skills sequencing, main idea and details, character traits, and effect and applied all skills to the book through reading response. Last week, students were given their first reading project to complete, which was a Book Talk or review about Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Click here to see the project paper students were given. Today students presented their book talks and they did an excellent job. It was amazing to the see the creativity and talent of some of my students. Here are a few of my students presenting their book talks.

Last week, we began the chapter book Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe. This is definitely a more challenging book for my students. Sharing this book with my students has allowed me to really focus in on metacognition and doing more think alouds with my students. We discussed plot this week and the conflicts the main character may encounter. Next, week we will begin discussing Author's Purpose. Our wonderful librarian pulled a stack of books for me to use for mini-lessons on Author's purpose. I am also thinking of using a few for small group for students to read and identify the author's purpose.

My students are still loving blogging. Some of my students are up to 8 posts and a few of them are posting at home. Yesterday, we discussed how to make a quality blog comment and made an anchor chart. They wrote, on an index card, to a journal prompt on the board about their favorite movie. Then each student was given a sticky note to make a comment. Students enjoyed reading their comments and now they are eager to get back on the computers to begin commenting. Here is the link to my students blogs. Please check them out and feel free to leave them a few comments!


  1. That's awesome! We still use the basal reader, but I almost completely threw out responding to questions after the story this year. Instead, kids explore a question with a partner daily (sometimes using journals) during my reader's workshop time. We have led MANY, many discussions this year (turning to partners almost daily). Students also read their own chapter books approximately 40 minutes a day (or longer), and we are on our second chapter book this year (Rules being first and The Ghost's Grave being second). I like the thought of reading Bunnicula, too...

  2. I too have parted ways with the basal reader. It is way more work, but it is also way more rewarding and the kids love it.
    Could you post your anchor chart for the lesson you did on commenting on each other's blog? I am also using Kidblogs and am at the point where it is time to do a mini lesson on that. I have been putting it off because I have not had the time to think it through. Thanks!!!!!!


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