My goal is for you to find literature you love and read a lot. To this end, I share a number of books from our classroom library, and I take the class to the school library, where our librarian does book talks. I also encourage families to take their kids to the public library. Middle school students are expected to have an independent reading book at home at all times and to read at home for at least three hours over the course of each week for the duration of the school year.
Independent Reading Overview
HOME READING REQUIREMENTS:
Read a minimum of 3 hours at home each week.
Read at least one book every six weeks and prepare to write a book summary in class.
Prepare to deliver 1 book talk per trimester.
IN-CLASS READING WORKSHOP (THURSDAYS):
Deliver book talks.
Silent read independent books.
Blog about books you’re reading and respond to classmates' blogs.
Write in-class book summaries (hard copy of book and notes are allowed).
Book Talks We all know you’ve read some good books, and we want to hear about them! You will pick one book to tell the class about each trimester. It can be any good book that you’ve read over the past few months, or a book that you’re in the middle of. Book talks happen on Thursdays during Reading Workshop. You may sign up to give a talk any Thursday during the trimester. Your book talk will be graded according to our class oral presentation rubric and the checklist below. Use both to practice for your talk:
Fiction Book Talk Checklist 1. Bring your book and show the cover on the projector OR create a Google Slideshow about your book. (Show pictures or other graphics, as relevant.) 2. Include most or all of the following in your talk:
where you got the book (class, school library, etc.)
setting (time and place)
character (name, age, description)
conflict that gets the story started
plot details (without giving away the ending)
theme and/or main idea
3. Ask if there are any questions, and call on 3 people. 4. Say thank you, and wait for the class to clap.
Non-Fiction Book Talk Checklist 1. Bring your book and show the cover on the projector. (Show pictures or other graphics, as relevant.) 2. Include most or all of the following in your talk:
where you got the book (class, school library, etc.)
setting (time(s) and place(s))
interesting facts and details
main idea or message
3. Ask if there are any questions, and call 3 on people. 4. Say thank you, and wait for the class to clap.
Oral Presentation Rubric
Speaker uses an audible voice.
Speaker pronounces words clearly.
Speaker makes eye contact with the audience.
Speaker delivers solid main points backed up by facts, details, and examples.
Graphic aids (book jacket or cover and any maps, pictures, etc.) that help clarify information for the audience.
(95=excellent, 85=good, 75=has the basics, 65=needs work)
In-Class Summaries You will be writing approximately one summary every six weeks of a novel (or other long book) you have recently completed. You are allowed to bring the book or notes that includes: title, author, genre, year published, and the spellings of any unusual names or words from the book. The summaries are grading according to the following rubric:
Organization 95% Clear topic sentence includes title, author, date published, and genre (if available) 85% Topic sentence includes title and author, as well as the date published or the genre 75%Short topic sentence includes the title and/or the author 65%No topic sentence or book info; the summary just launches into the plot events/ideas Ideas and Organization 95% In 7-15 sentences, includes the right amount of main plot events/ideas organized sequentially to make the text understandable 85% In 7-15 sentences, includes the main plot events/ideas in order with few or no extra details 75% In 7-15 sentences, includes some main plot events/ideas; may include some non-important details 65% Includes minimal explanation of main events/ideas or overuse of non-important details Voice 95% Consistently maintains objective viewpoint (does not use “I” or give personal opinions) 85% Mostly maintains and objective viewpoint 75% Slips into evaluative viewpoint at times 65% Uses evaluative viewpoint frequently (Frequently uses “I” or gives personal opinions) Word Choice and Organization 95% Uses many signal words that help the reader understand shifts in setting and character as well as sequence of events 85% Uses some signal words that help the reader understand shifts in setting and character as well as sequence of events 75% Uses a few signal words; shifts in time, place, and character are sometimes confusing 65% Uses very few or no signal words; the reader is lost in time and place Conventions 95% Has no or insignificant errors 85% A few errors pop up 75% Frequent errors distract the reader 65% So many errors, it’s hard to read
2. Write a blog entry about what you are reading every other week. Check your blog each week to make sure you are on track. 3. (You may only do one blog per day. If two or more blogs have the same date, only the first one will receive a grade.) 5. You also need to thoughtfully respond to a peer's post every other week. 7. Follow these guidelines to get a high score:
Title of the blog post is the title of the book (so that we know what we're reading about).
Includes a short but clear summary of main plot events.
The blog post is more than 200 words and filled with thoughts, predictions, visualizations, connections, metacognitive musings, and critical thinking about the book you are reading.
Refers to specific details from the book, but also explains or elaborates on the importance of those details.
Sentences build on each other and don’t feel like disconnected responses to a list of questions.
The blog post is perfectly to fairly well edited.
A Basic List of Literary Terms action alliteration allusion antagonist character climax conflict denouement dialogue exposition falling action flashback foreshadowing genre humor hyperbole irony language metaphor personification plot point of view (various types) protagonist resolution rising action setting simile style suspense theme vocabulary