Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Collecting Classroom Book Reviews

If students struggle to choose free reading books, try creating a card catalog.

Today at lunch while talking with a reading teacher, she mentioned that several students struggle to choose a free reading book. It's not for lack of choices, instead they are having difficulty discerning if the book is worth their time.

"Photo" by David Fulmer under CC 4.0
Why not create a way to share book recommendations between students?

While the tech side of me thinks Microsoft Access would be a fun way to do this, I recognize most teachers wouldn't know where to begin in creating a digital database. But it wasn't that long ago when libraries used a simple card catalog system for tracking books. A simple tweak of the system can help a teacher collect book recommendations.

Using 3x5 index cards, have students write the name of the book at the top, then the author underneath. The first student should write a short description of the book without spoilers! The finish the card with their name and a 1-5 star rating.

If another student has also read the same book, they can write their name on the back of the card with their star rating. Keep all the cards alphabetized in an index card file. With a little practice and maintenance, a teacher can offer students a wide selection of reading recommendations.