Sunday Reflections: Goals for my Readers

Sunday Reflections: Goals for my Readers There's a Book for That

One thing that became very clear to me in May was that assessment that has to be done for the sake of files, records and funding often makes me frustrated. But this is not a post about the assessment that I must do. Instead, I want to think about the goals I have for my students as readers so that I can be clear about certain things.

What am I looking for when I observe my students in the first few weeks?

How does what I see along with the goals I have shape directions for teaching and learning?  

What ongoing data do I need to measure how individual students are progressing?

What is the best data/assessment to use for this purpose?

What can we celebrate?

What is really important?

How does our reading community support the readers in the room?

Sunday Reflections: Goals for my Readers There's a Book for That

My Teacher Librarian and I work together daily in my classroom during Reading Workshop. We met in early June and made a list of goals to guide us in working with a new group of readers (likely a Grade 2/3 class) in the fall. We didn’t start with curriculum guides or performance standards. Instead, we started with our collective experience (over 20 years each) and sense of what our little readers and learners need.

Some of these things will happen early on in the year and some will develop over the course of the year. Of course, individual students will progress at their own rates.

This is our list with a few additions and a little tweaking. Of course, many things will happen in our literacy learning but this list should help keep us on track and allow us to continue to respond to the changing needs of our students.

Our goals for our readers? 

Each reader will . . .

  • self-identify as a reader
  • have a passion for books and literacy experiences
  • be able to independently read/interact with text for at least 15 minutes and build his/her reading stamina over the course of the year
  • be able to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction texts
  • be able to use the features in nonfiction texts to obtain information
  • have an understanding of genres
  • be able to self-select “good fit” texts for independent reading (thinking about interests and levels)
  • develop listening stamina and active listening skills
  • be able to talk about books and participate in learning conversations in partner, small group and whole class discussions
  • be able to share an opinion about what we are reading together and what he/she is reading independently
  • develop a variety of strategies to make meaning
  • be able to demonstrate comprehension through retelling, identifying the main idea and summarizing key points
  • use a variety of comprehension strategies (i.e. visualizing, inferring) when reading
  • read widely as well as develop a growing repertoire of favourite authors, genres, series, etc.
  • use a variety of strategies to figure out unknown words
  • make progress along a continuum in terms of being able to read at grade level. For our more vulnerable readers, reasonable goals can be set and more intense one to one time provided in the context of Reading Workshop. For our other readers, we hope that each child will be reading at or above grade level by the end of the year.
  • make time to read at home

Sunday Reflections: Goals for my Readers There's a Book for That

Obviously, our goals are shaped by the ages and stages of our students. What are your goals for the readers in your room this year? I’d love to hear!

It’s calling . . . #nerdlution

Okay, I have also succumbed to the call of #nerdlution



I wasn’t going to because . . . life is just too busy. But then, of course, it hit me. That’s exactly why I need to do this. Claim time, joy and energy that is for me not about “to do” lists.

My #nerdlution is very simple. It is about slowing down and connecting with my two beautiful children. Starting today and for fifty days without fail (big promises, this is serious stuff :-)) I will read aloud to my children from a novel we are sharing together. Thankfully, I still do manage to read aloud to my children often. They are in Grade 6 and both avid, capable readers so I consider the fact that they still love the read aloud a pretty wonderful thing. We read nonfiction, picture books and novels. But when things are busy, I often just squeeze in a quick picture book and don’t take the time to dive back into our novel “on the go”.

When we read a longer story together, we talk. We snuggle. We predict and wonder and share. We wrap ourselves up in a story that becomes ours. And as childhood races by and busy times try to overtake us, I am claiming more of the read aloud magic back. Not just over the holidays. Not just a few times a week when busy schedules don’t win. But back to the everyday. Because, really, it is my children who made me the reader I am. They showed me that books connect to life and memories in a way I never fully understood until I had so many special reading experiences with them.

On day one of this #nerdlution challenge, we finish up Chapter 14 of The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens.

Completely confused about the #nerdlution revolution? Read Colby Sharp’s blog. 

Let the reading begin!


My must read novels of 2013

This is the season for goal setting. And because I love books, my challenge is to set my reading goals.

Book Thief

So yes, it’s definitely about quantity  I have set my Goodreads goal to 625 up from last year’s 500. My chapter book challenge is bumped up to 95 from 75. I’m definitely feeling ambitious. Happily ambitious.

But it’s also about what’s between the pages. After reading Donalyn Miller‘s post about book gaps, I’ve been thinking about what kind of books I would like to read more.

What is missing in my reading repertoire?

I’ve decided I need to read more fantasy stories, more stories set in other countries and more historical fiction. I always learn so much. There are certain genres I don’t read much of – humour for example. But I’m not defining that as a gap just not a current preference. There is only so much time and more than enough books so I am going to happily indulge in titles that I feel will stretch my learning, thinking and knowledge.

Because, my “To Be Read” list is ever growing, I am making a firm commitment to these 20 titles I do not want to miss.

In no particular order:

Sequels, next in a series:

The Runaway King

1. The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle 2) (following The Raven Boys) by Maggie Stiefvater (Read July 26th 2013)

2. The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Book 2 in the Ascendance Trilogy following The False Prince)  (Read April 13th 2013)

3. Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2) by Shannon Hale  (Read March 31st 2013)

4. Insurgent by Veroncia Roth (following Divergent) (Read February 10th 2013)

Titles by authors I have loved:

on the road to mr. mineos

5. Fourmile by Watt Key (Read February 17th 2013)

6. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys  (Read March 7th 2013)

7. Every Day by David Levithan (Read January 19th 2013)

8. On the Road to Mr. Mineo’s by Barbara O’Connor (Read January 27th 2013)

Historical Fiction:


9. Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood (Read February 2nd 2013)

10. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (Read April 10th 2013)

11. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (Read January 26th 2013)

12. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak  (Read August 30th 2013)

13. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly   (Read August 24th 2013)

Stories set in other places:


14. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (Read May 11th 2013)

15. Copper Sun by Sharon Draper  (Read March 26th 2013)

Fantasy titles:


16. Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder (Read May 25th 2013)

17. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (Read December 31st 2013)

18. The Diviners by Libba Bray (Read January 10th 2013)

19. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor  (Read December 27th 2013)

The just because:


20. Shine by Lauren Myracle  (Read March 22nd, 2013)

Anyone else out there have must-read titles in their huge To Be Read pile? Please share!