I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two weeks back with students. For part of my day, I am lucky enough to loop with a group of now 8th graders to teach their core reading class in a small group setting (8 students). I feel like last year we were only beginning to grow as readers and this year we jumped right in.
I am following Donalyn Miller's advice from The Book Whisperer and am encouraging my students to read 40 books this year. Failure isn't an option so we don't discuss it. In order to ask this of my students, I participated in the book-a-day challenge on Twitter this summer. I read lots and lots of books from picture books to chapter books, and discussed these books with my PLN. I came to school prepared to share books that, as I read, I had certain students in mind who may enjoy them!
We started out the year with book talks, book trailers and book tasting. Book talks were nothing knew to the students, as they had heard me give these before and had prepared their own. Book trailers were very new and were an exciting hook to get kids interested in reading. Many students were writing down titles to their must-read lists and saying, "I have to get that one!" The Taste of Books in our school library was a huge hit. All students in our Middle School had an opportunity to "taste" books and develop a list of books to add to their must-read lists. Afterwards, our principal offered an apple for each student to really taste in which she had picked from her own apple trees. (She is new to our building and our staff and students couldn't be happier!)