Encourage students to read silently until everyone finishes their surveys. Limit movement around the room on Day 1 since you haven’t yet discussed guidelines for choosing a location in the room to read. The students will finish their surveys at different times, so some will have more time for independent reading than others, but try to make sure they all have a little time to read on the first day. While they are reading, start to notice your students’ preferences. Who heads for the fiction books? Who grabs a nonfiction book? What are they reading about? Are they engrossed in their books or do they seem to have difficulty concentrating?
After you collect the surveys, introduce your students to the joys of listening to a great book. One of my favorite read alouds for the first day is Thank You, Mr. Falker because it’s short enough to be read in one setting and it touches on important issues. The author, Patricia Polacco, writes from her own experience about having trouble learning to read and the humiliation of being bullied. By introducing this theme on the first day of school, you set a positive expectation for success in reading. Once again, use this as an opportunity to learn about your students as readers and listeners. Do they seem to enjoy the read-aloud session? Who participates actively by asking questions or making connections with their own experiences? Does anyone seem disinterested or disengaged? No need to take any other action right now; just observe and begin to learn about your students.
Wrap up Day 1 by explaining that tomorrow you’ll have some exciting news for them about how they will learn to become better readers in your classroom. If they haven’t found a good book to read from your classroom library, ask them to bring a book from home.
Download PDF Sample