Chapter 3: Clever Matchmaking Between Students and Books

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  • Have you ever fallen in love with a book? 
  • Fall in love?! I barely like reading...
  • You like horror novels? Then let me direct you to books by R. L. Stine! 
  • Hmm...since the books are alphabetized by author's last name, then they would be with the "S" section
  • MIND. BLOWN.
  • Wait...I get to choose my own book? 
  • As ELA teachers, it is our job to work as "matchmakers" between books and our students. Students must first learn how to develop a positive relationship with reading before any meaningful comprehension and learning can take place.
  • What are you doing, Marcus? 
  • I'm shopping for a new book- the one I began last week does not really keep my attention. 
  • One of the best ways teachers can begin to foster a love for reading in their students is by building a robust and accessible classroom library. Students need to be encouraged to read and explore appropriate texts for both their reading level and interests, by giving them an organized system to find books in the classroom. 
  • Reading 101: Developing Reader's Expectations for Books 
  • According to Nancy Allison, "choice is critical to student success and essential for motivation." Teachers create excitement about reading when they allow students to choose from various genres and interesting texts. This further develops the reader's agency and independence in reading. 
  • If I want to learn more about WWII, then I should probably learn how to read  nonfiction texts. 
  • How to Read Nonfiction
  • Shopping for the right book is just as important as shopping for the right pair of shoes. The book must fit the reader's interests, tastes, and skill level. If a student cannot find a text that "fits" perfectly, then the teacher should encourage students to look or "shop" for one that does. This may even mean abandoning a book that is not finished yet. 
  • Students must learn library skills in order to become even more independent in their reading. Such skills include how to find fiction versus nonfiction in the library, where to find autobiographies, and what the numbers of the Dewey Decimal system represent. When students learn how to utilize choice and reading expectations, they are ready to take responsibility for their reading. 
  • Students must ultimately take responsibility for their own development as both readers and learners. The teacher serves as a guide for students about how to select texts, how to approach different types of texts, and how to read them. Yet middle level students must also use their independent choices to support their own reading literacy. 
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