Read the Rainbow- My Reading Program

I just finished reading the book The Book Whisperer because I had heard such good things about it. It was a very inspiring book about reading instruction, but more than that, it validated so much of what I already do in the classroom. My students read silently for long periods throughout the day, share books among themselves, and we talk about books a lot!  I took over a page of notes from the books of new things to do or try, and it made me more passionate about the method I use to get my students to read! I occasionally question myself when I people are surprised to come into my class to see students reading silently. I feel like I am not doing my job if I am not constantly talking to my students at a whole! But then I remember that they are learning a great deal about people, places, grammar, English, emotions, science and so many other new things!  And of course my students do not sit and read for 8 hours, so I do impart a little of my own knowledge for part of the day!

I did not completely invent this idea, my own fourth grade teacher used it in her classroom. I really have no idea where she got it! I used what I vaguely remember from her along with the requirements of my school to teach genre. I drew a rainbow and filled it in with genres that my students need to read. I also have a pot of gold filled with books, fancy bookmarks, and some treats that they can choose from when they finish a whole rainbow. ( I forgot to take a picture of my pot today at school, but I got a large plastic cauldron at Wal-Mart one year around Halloween.)

When I started doing this I had students complete a review worksheet on the book before I would initial the rainbow  square and let them color it in. I think I am going to phase this out and concentrate more on our reading response journals and conferences.

This is where I keep the reviews along with each student’s folder. It’s likely I’ll get rid of this system and instead glue the rainbow into their response notebook. Then I could store more book here!

I start the school year with several mini lessons about genres and we continually discuss it throughout the year.  The rainbow helps the students visually see how much they are reading and feel the accomplishment of coloring in each square when they finish!

Here is the rainbow each student fills out. I scanned it in as a picture, but I can try to scan it in as a PDF or text document if you are interested in using it for your classroom.

I have always required one rainbow per school year, but after reading the The Book Whisperer, I wonder if I should set the expectations higher and have one complete before Christmas?  What do you think?

As for the reason I didn’t get much done at school today? Well this little helper had something to do with my lack of productivity…


About teachinginpink

I'm a full time mom and part time fashion designer, and overtime teacher. I teach fifth grade at a Catholic school. Due to my slim parochial school budget and my naturally crafty ways, I love to get creative with my teaching!

Posted on August 9, 2011, in Back to School, Literacy, Planning and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Sharee Poisso

    I really love this idea. I teach special needs middle school students and getting them to read is a huge challenge. I wish I would have had this for my classroom this year. But I am going to pass this on to all of my co-workers. I hope someone takes it and runs.

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