Reading instruction in Room 130 aims to take on a balanced approach, varying from teacher-centered to student-centered. Both in fourth and fifth grade, there are five recurring activities in our reading program:

  • WEB: Wonderfully Exciting Books
  • Shared Reading
  • Literature Circles
  • Read Aloud
  • CNN Student News

Wonderfully Exciting Books (WEB)

This is our silent, independent reading time. Students and I are scattered around the room reading self-selected books. This time builds a love of reading as students read books related to their own interests. This is also an opportunity for students to practice reading strategies they are learning at other times in the day.

Shared Reading

Our shared reading time is spent reading short stories together. Students can find these stories in their Wonders textbooks, or online through ConnectED by signing in at ClassLink. During shared reading, everyone in the room has their own copy of the text. We read it together and practice good reading strategies.

Literature Circles

This is the engine of our reading program, a time to read and discuss good books. Here, students learn and practice the reading strategies that successful readers demonstrate:

  • Questioning
  • Visualizing and inferring
  • Making connections to the text
  • Determining importance and summarizing

The process starts as students get to read from a small text that matches the shared reading topic. Each student reads the text at their own level.

Book groups meet every day, alternating between reading and discussion days. On reading days, students read their group’s reading assignment and write down connections, questions, interesting passages, and illustrations. The goal is for students to respond to the text, not just understanding it, but going beyond it to look at the how’s, why’s and what if’s.

On discussion days, students use their responses from the previous day to discuss what they read, building and extending from the comments of others.

Each week, a new Literature Circles book is read, always matching the shared reading text. Students can find their Literature Circles book through ConnectED by signing in at ClassLink.

Read more about Literature Circles here.

Read Aloud

This is the time for me to read to the class, while they listen to a good book. But this is more than just “story time.” I also have a chance to model what fluent readers do. And I frequently stop to ask questions, and look for predictions. Students are not passive participants of this time.

CNN Student News

We also watch CNN Student News daily. This helps provide valuable background knowledge about the world, geography, science, social studies, government, and character. Dr. Daniel Willingham, a reading researcher from the University of Virginia, has this to say about the importance of background knowledge:

Once kids are fluent decoders, much of the difference among readers is not due to whether you’re a “good reader” or “bad reader” (meaning you have good or bad reading skills). Much of the difference among readers is due to how wide a range of knowledge they have. If you hand me a reading test and the text is on a subject I happen to know a bit about, I’ll do better than if it happens to be on a subject I know nothing about.

CNN Student News helps expose students to a wide collection of knowledge so that they will be more familiar with more topics when they are doing their own reading.

Reading Assessment

Reading level and growth are assessed monthly using the STAR Reading test. STAR Reading is a highly-rated computer adaptive test that determines a student’s reading level. The reading level is used in class to track growth and to place students in reading groups.


This page last updated September 11, 2019 @ 10:48 am.