Reading Takes a New Direction at Connolly

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Teachers at Connolly School are piloting the reading portion of Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project this school year. As part of the reader’s workshop, students are learning to grow complex ideas. They are also discussing the books they’re reading with their peers and completing writing assignments. 

During a recent lesson in Krystle Gonzales’ class, fifth-graders broke into their “book clubs” to read and discuss their fiction book selections. Not only are they tasked with describing the complexity of their book’s characters, they are urged to look for character traits and patterns that reveal themselves in specific situations that arise in the story.

To start, students were broken into groups based on their reading levels and worked together to come up with a book club name. They also established rules they want to follow as a group, including how many chapters they would read during each meeting. While reading, students place Post-its on areas of the book they’d like to discuss with their group. Ms. Gonzales said the book clubs have been an exciting addition to classroom learning.     

“I’ve really seen a growing enthusiasm for reading,” Ms. Gonzales said. “The students are leading the learning in their groups. They’re discussing the theme and characters while learning skills and strategies.” 

Once they complete their reading, students will compare and contrast their reading selections with “Esperanza Rising” by Pam Munoz Ryan.