My 90 minute English class begins with 15 minutes of silent sustained reading every day. I prioritize this time because I know students won’t love every book we read as part of our curriculum. I want to give them the opportunity and time to read anything that interests them. They can read whatever they want…graphic novels, biographies, popular young adult books or science fiction. My only request is that they select books that are at or above their reading level.
My students LOVE silent sustained reading. It gives them time to “pleasure read,” which is a welcome time out for many of my overscheduled and stressed out high school students.
The challenge for me was to design an “assessment” that was meaningful. I had tried everything from the traditional book report style assessment to more creative movie trailers, but I didn’t feel like they accomplished what I wanted from a silent sustained reading assessment.
It wasn’t until I went to a book club meeting with some friends that inspiration struck. At our book club meetings, we ate food, drank wine, and talked about literature for hours. Why couldn’t our SSR assessment be more like that? (Sans the wine, of course.) I thought about what inspired me to read my book club books and the answer was that I really enjoyed that evening of food, conversation, and friends.
So, I decided to design a book club style chat assessment for our silent sustained reading. The goal was to get my students having conversations about their various books. Ultimately, I hoped they would turn each other on to titles they had read and enjoyed. Below is a brief overview of the assignment. I’ve also included a link to a Google document with a detailed explanation of the assignment for any teacher interested in using it!
SSR Book Club Style Chat
- The Passage: Hook your group members! Choose an exciting, interesting or descriptive passage to read to your group.
- Visually Stimulating: A picture is worth a thousand words! Create a small poster with the title of the book, the author, and at least one symbol incorporated into your collage or drawing.
- Honest Reaction: Is this book worth reading? Write an 8-12 sentence reflection about your book. This reflection should focus on your reaction to the book.
- The Perfect Dish: This book makes me crave… Choose a type of food, dish or beverage that you think goes nicely with this particular book and bring it in to share. Write a 4-6 sentence explanation of how this food goes with your book.
This book club style chat has become a favorite with my students. They enjoy any activity that involves food and the conversations about their books have motivated students to read books they might not have otherwise known about.
Click here to view the Google Document with the detailed explanation for this assignment. If you have a Gmail address, simply log into your account then click “File” at the top of this document. Select “Make a copy” and it will automatically save in your Google Drive.