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If you've been a blog reader for a while, you know that I've read and re-read Donalyn Miller's book The Book Whisperer many times.  I've utilized her ideas in my reading classroom in a variety of ways.  You can check out some of the ways here.  This year, I decided to implement a student reading notebook similar to hers.  

I started by challenging my students to read 40 books this year.  I think they were a little shocked, but they got right to work!  I explained to parents that the challenge is just that - a challenge.  I also want them to try a variety of genres.

I want them to read a certain number of books from each genre, as shown by the gray boxes in their graph.  The students color in a box each time they complete a book.  Love the colors that this student is using!  The Genre Requirements Graph comes from Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer.

 The students are also keeping track of the titles of the books that they've read in their notebooks.  This gives me a glimpse into their reading life.  It not only tells me the title and genres of their books, but how long it took them to read it. 
My favorite part to look at is the "How did you choose this book" column.  This is a huge help when I am recommending books to individual students.  I love how the student below chose a book because it had the word "chocolate" in the title!  A girl after my own heart!
The Books I've Read chart also comes from Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer.

I was a little nervous at first that my 5th grade students would be overwhelmed and not be able to keep track of their reading independently.  To help them stay on track, I meet individually with my students at least once a week.

The students bring me their notebooks as well as their independent reading books.  They continue to read while I check out their notebooks.  I look for any trends in their reading life - are they sticking to one genre?  Are they moving too quickly through books?  Are they abandoning books often?  How are they choosing to read new books?  It's a wonderful glimpse into what kind of reader they are.  We then spend a few minutes discussing the books they've read or are currently reading.
I use the above chart to keep track of their reading list as well as any notes that I take during their conference.  You can grab my conference sheet here for free!

I can't wait to see how they do throughout the year with their notebooks and reading in general!
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