Like the Books Read list, the Books I Want to Read List includes the titles of books and possibly their authors. You could also ask students to include a genre descriptor and my favorite, the “Why” column. Have students keep the list in a findable spot such as a readers notebook or the reading section of a binder. Provide some accountability by conferencing with students about their list, perhaps at the same time you are meeting to discuss their Books Read list.
Ways students will benefit from keeping a Books I Want to Read List:
- The Books I Want to Read list is a way for students to set goals for themselves as readers. If the Books Read list answers the question “What kind of reader are you?” the Books I Want to Read List poses the question “What kind of a reader do I want to be?”
- Readers who have a plan for what to read next don’t have any down time between finishing one book and starting the next.
- When you talk about titles with your students or take your students to the library for book talks, the Books I Want to Read List provides a purpose for careful listening. Even students who are sure their next seven books will be in the Gossip Girls series or the Cirque du Freak series still need several back-up options for those annoying times when they can’t get their hands on the next series title.
The Books I Want to Read List isn’t a contract, but a commitment to look a little deeper at a particular title. A healthy list will include books crossed out that appear on the Books Read list. It will also include titles that are crossed out because on closer inspection the student determined it was too hard, too boring, or not the right first biography or fantasy or horror book to try.
Ways teachers will benefit when students keep a Books I Want to Read List:
- The Books I Want to Read list shows teachers what reading goals students have set for themselves.
- When conferring, the list is a tool for coaching students around setting appropriate, achievable reading goals such as genre variety, narrative complexity, or just the basic skill of planning a reading life.
- The list is a tool for formative evaluation. If none of the books on the Books I Want to Read list ever show up on the Books Read list, or no reading goals can be inferred from the list, it can serve as an indicator of what needs to be retaught.
Grouping students to share their Books I Want to Read lists with each other can be a powerful way for students to share book suggestions with each other. It can be a natural starting point for forming book partnerships where two students read the same book and are given time to talk about it together.
On a purely selfish note, the Books I Want to Read list is a huge help to librarians. Although the I can occasionally locate “that book with the green cover you told our class about last week,” an expectation that students will bring their Books I Want to Read List to the library makes it much more likely that a students will walk out the door with their next just right book.
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