Book clubs, book presentations in character, book board games, and book tastings are just some of the classroom projects that Western Wayne Middle School students have been participating in through their English Language Arts classes this year.
ELA teacher Starlah Robbins treated her students to a “book tasting” earlier this year where students sampled a variety of different books in her class. She set up her room like a book café and served as the reading chef. In addition, Robbins explained other projects she does with her students.
“ I allow class time for independent reading and then do both journaling and book talks,” Robbins explained. “They discuss conflict, characters, themes, etc. in their books, without giving away any spoilers. From these talks students make “read next” lists for books that catch their interest. Aside from book talks, students have done book reviews, which is another way for students to see what other good books are out there that they can read.”
Similarly fellow ELA teachers Dawn Krautter and Jessica Fullwood host book talks within their classrooms and say their students truly enjoy being able to read books of their choice and then share their reading experiences with classmates. This practice helps promote students learning about and choosing a variety of books to read throughout the school year.
Sixth grade ELA teacher Kathleen Petty had her students create and play a book talk board game.
“After reading independently selected sixth grade-appropriate books, the students shared information about their selections as they played the board game,” Petty explained. “Simultaneously, the other players would record details of the book on their score sheets. The kids were really comfortable discussing and sharing details about their books in a small group setting. This was a fun way to spark student interest in new books. Throughout the game several students exclaimed, ‘I’ve got to read your book!’ It was a great way to break up the regular classroom routine!”
Eighth grade ELA teacher Jessica McLaughlin has her students choose their independent reading books in a variety of categories throughout the school year to help them diversify their reading patterns. For the second quarter, students read a biography or autobiography of their choosing. As their final book project, they discussed the biography figures they wrote about with their classmates. Some students dressed in character for the activity. The students said their favorite part about the project was learning about different people throughout history that they didn’t know existed.
Another way that students are being able to expand their knowledge on a variety of topics through reading comes from an opportunity provided to them by The Wayne County Community Foundation through a project called Building Home Libraries. The Foundation has donated books to Western Wayne Middle and Elementary schools to help students to build their own home libraries. All students received books the week of February 7 to take home and enjoy.
Eighth grader Hailey Wasman was excited to get a new book.
“I have been reading a really great series lately, but I am always ready to try out a new story,” Hailey said.
In addition, this coming spring Western Wayne Middle and High School students will participate in NEIU 19’s Virtual Reading Relays where they will get to discuss books in a competitive and friendly way with students throughout the local area. Western Wayne students are thrilled to have so many different and unique ways to involve reading in their education.