Sunday, April 14, 2013

Status of the Class

As a literacy coach this year, I have had my job description tweaked a bit and I no longer coach classroom teachers and students but work with individual groups of students that have fallen behind. I need to do a lot of work with fluency, as I wrote about in my last post, because like it or not, these are scores that many people place a lot of emphasis on. But my emphasis has been, and always will be on, engaging students with text. Long after the tests are over and they have left school, will they be lifelong readers? Will they be able to travel around the world in a book? Will they be so wrapped up in the characters and plot of a story that they lose themselves for just a little while? And what can I do to influence and encourage this reading with a minimal amount of time?
Enter Status of the Class! Many of you are familiar with Status of the Class from your writing workshop days. It is a quick check-in as to where each student is in the writing process. But I have used Status of the Class in reading as well - as a quick check in with each student as to what book they are reading during free choice reading and what page they are on. That's it - quick and simple but oh so powerful. It lets each of my struggling readers know a couple of  things. First off, it lets them know I care about what they are reading but I also find out how much they are reading. They know that every single day I am going to ask how them how their book is and what page they are on. This provides an incredible accountability factor as well and lets me know if kids are truly reading . . . and how much. I also know when they have finished a book so I can be ready with a stack of recommendations for them.
That is the part they really like - the book recommendations. There is nothing better then feeling special and when a teacher comes in with a stack of books that they have picked out just for you, what is more motivating than that? I have found that the students I work with have responded to this simple Status of the Class in an astounding fashion and have read more pages and more books than ever before. Try it and let me know how it works for you. After I did it for a few weeks, I asked the five reading associates that work with me to start using it with their students as well. Our work has spread to the classrooms as teachers have seen it and have incorporated it into their teaching and are using it with their entire class. 
Coaches - now that's how to do it - lead by example - but not by force - gently . . . :-)
You can find a classroom form at this great website-, just put Status of the Class in the search box and it will take you to the correct link.
If you go to this Pinterest link, you will see a great individual form to use as well!