BY Cathleen Furtado
Sippican School (Old Rochester)
Reading instruction at the 5th grade level is delivered in a reading workshop format. In this format, the students receive whole group instruction in a particular skill and then work in book club groups to put the skill into practice while reading quality chapter books at their reading level. I confer with small groups of students on a weekly basis who work together as book clubs. The structure of the reading workshop format includes mini-lessons, independent work time, conferring and small group work, mid-workshop teaching and shares during which partnerships or clubs work together. The students participate in book discussions with other members of their book club, craft responses about their reading in their Reader’s Notebook, and decide on book choices and volume of reading together.
There are several units that students focus on across the year, and each of these involves providing students with a high volume of quality books about a particular topic or genre. In one unit, the students become experts on the genre of fantasy. In another unit, the students research an argumentative topic and take a stand on an issue that needs to be supported by research.
How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)?
Student progress will be measured in terms of reading growth and writing assessments throughout the school year.
Benefit to the students and the school
Across all of these units, books are needed across a variety of reading levels for each classroom. All 73 fifth graders would benefit from texts placed in their hands that are engaging, high quality, well written, and age appropriate. This funding would allow me to purchase texts for my students to fully implement each of the units in the curriculum.
There are currently 73 fifth graders in four classrooms at Sippican School and in each classroom, I teach using this model. Students are consistently reading, writing, and discussing the books they are reading with their book club. This approach requires an extremely large numbers of multiple copies of books at various readability levels for the many book clubs that are running in each of the four classrooms. The students read across a variety of genres including fantasy, realistic fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction, and poetry.
Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
The students work in these book clubs throughout the entire school year.