This is a guest blog post by Marcy Godesa, a first-grade teacher from Oregon who blogs over at Searching for Teacher Balance. If you like what you read here, check her blog out, and be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts!
Setting clear expectations beginning on the first day of school is vital. The amount of time we practice routines in my classroom may seem crazy to some people, but it is the only way to ensure a successful school year. One area that I spend a lot of time practicing with my students around is buddy reading. I have learned never to expect that my students know how to do something—they need to be taught. This doesn't just apply to primary age students, but all students. As teachers, we sometimes expect kids to just know or remember from the pervious year and that does not always work on our favor. Therefore, day by day, we practice one expectation and add another as mastery of the previous is shown.
Here are the buddy expectations that we have been working on. We practiced one a day, adding to our expectations over the first few weeks of school.
I have learned over the last 12 years that it is important for buddy readers to not only be able to meet the expectations set, but to be able to communicate on the same level. I have searched high and low for great books that buddies can build their background knowledge with, and then discuss further through a buddy read. My search for great books is finally over! The Fables and Real Word Series from Hameray Publishing fits all of my buddy reading needs.
This series allows my kiddos to read and build their background knowledge with the nonfiction books. They can read them independently during Read-to-Self or with their buddy.
Students then have common vocabulary and topic background knowledge to make connections, retell, find their favorite parts, and just book talk. The nonfiction books are just the beginning. Each nonfiction set has a fable that relates to the topic. Buddies are able to read the fables together, building off their nonfiction reading.
I love sitting and listening in on buddy reads. It is such a wonderful opportunity to hear students talking about books. I have noticed that by reading books sets and series together they are able to make connections through the conversations they have. Buddies are also so excited to share interesting excerpts with each other.
Buddy Reading has become a successful time in my classroom. I firmly believe that setting and reviewing exceptions is key, but having meaningful text is the icing on the cake.
What is a Buddy Reading MUST in your classroom?
Want to learn more about nonfiction books shown in this post? Click the image below to read about the Fables and the Real World series.