Certain days allow more time to invest into a novel as a class, but when we are doing a class novel we take some time every day to read together. Sometimes this is as they are unpacking in the morning, as transition from recess, at dismissal, or taking the time to read as we relax to soak up reading.
My FAVORITE book to read whole class is Wonder by RJ Palaccio, as you can see by my beat up copy. I have read this book with 5th, 6th, and 8th graders in the different classrooms I have taught. Each year and each group of students loved it just as much, if not more, than the class before! Students, and adults alike, are fascinated by the story of Auggie overcoming challenges. It is a great way to start the year with discussions of differences, acceptance, and kindness. It tends to become a motto in our room, "when given the choice between being right or being kind, always choose kind". We take this motto and tie it into character education and take the kindness pledge.
Welcome to the world of Greek Mythology! The Percy Jackson and the Olympian series is the modern day version of my Harry Potter magical gateway to reading. I usually read this book in tandem with D'Aulaires Book of Greek Mythology. The D'Aulaires book is a work of art alone, but the images and stories combined give such clear stories. Having this background knowledge, they make better inferences and connections to the fictional additions in the Percy Jackson series. Students, in my experience, rarely stumble onto Greek mythology on their own and when they do, they don't realize there is reading out there that includes this type of adventure! We only read book 1, Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, together as a class, but soon after, our classroom and school library runs out of Rick Riordan books!
I've noticed some students will read within the comedy genre and never leave it, sticking to Captain Underpants, Diary of a Whimpy Kid, and any joke book, while other students have never picked up this genre. Towards the spring I love reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. It is a quick read, light hearted, and each chapter doesn't necessarily connect to the last, except repeating characters. This book is OFTEN on Scholastic's $1 list, so I purchased a class set so students are holding their own book as we read.
We have some expectations for our Flashlight Reading time. With the room so dark, students need to stay where they are; so they must have 1-2 books ready to go so that no one has to move. We talk about safety with shining bright things on someone's eyes, so therefore lights have to shine on and only on the books. If we are not able to follow the expectations, the consequence is not having a flashlight to join us.
My students genuinely love this activity and want to follow the rules and WANT TO READ. They have a book of their choice and are building reading endurance in addition to reading and writing skills!