So, at a quick glance, it may look like chaos! And I'll be honest... sometimes, it feels like chaos. But if you really tune in and take time to observe, you will see what is really happening.
Every Friday for roughly 30 minutes (one Daily Five session,) we all take the time to revisit our book tubs and shop for new books. When we finish shopping, we find a spot around the room to really dive into the books we've chosen to be sure they are a good fit. If they aren't, we can go ahead and put them back before we choose a different book. By the time the 30 minutes is over, we are all around the room, reading to ourselves.
I've toyed with the idea of changing the way we shop. Should I have small groups shop first thing in the morning? Should I have them shop at the end of the day, while we're packing up? Could we shop every other week? I have heard many teachers talking about different ways of handling how kids exchange books for their book tubs lately, so I've really thought about why I do it the way that I do. I also talked to my friend Trish and others on our Daily Five Twitter chat. And here's what I came up with...
What's really happening during this organized chaos is conversation. It's collaboration. It's thinking about who we are as readers. It's time to recommend books to our friends. It's time for me (the lead reader) to suggest books to my growing readers. If we didn't shop all together, I'm afraid we'd lose this time for these kinds of real connections. I'd miss watching books go from hand to hand, reader to reader.
And why the need for a weekly shopping time? By shopping each week, it keeps my readers motivated and keeps their reading stamina high. As a reader, I know I am always tuning in to new things to keep my interest peaked. I have to expect that same feeling from my little readers. They always have the option to keep books they're still reading or books they want to spend more time with. But I encourage them to switch out the majority of books, especially those they've read several times. Sometimes longer books or chapter books stay in tubs for a couple of weeks... and that's ok.
Shopping is a valued time and valued activity. It is the way in which I help guide and teach my first graders to pick those good fit books that are going to move them along in their reading journey. So, with two days of school left... this is what is on my mind! I know it will be a sad, sad time when I tell the boys and girls they have to reshelve all of the books from their book tubs. But I'll remind them they are always welcome to come back if they need some good books to read!