Making Virginia Readers Choice Work in Your Elementary Classroom

21 July 2016

It's all the rage ~ Virginia Readers Choice -right?! OK, so maybe you have a hard time getting your elementary students to read these magnificent books, but it can be done. It just takes a little ingenuity and passion for reading.

Did you know that every year the Virginia State Reading Association (VSRA) chooses 10 books in each grade level category for students to read and vote on? Every year, our media specialist purchases the books, reads them, and plays them up for the students. Of course, the primary books are an easy sell since they are all picture books. She uses them as read alouds. But getting the elementary students to read the chapter books is a challenge.

Why? They are longer and take longer to read. Many of our students don't read or vote on those books because they don't take the time to read and enjoy them. Typically, those students who do read them are the TAG or more advanced readers. Doesn't seem fair, does it?! Especially since they are all such highly acclaimed books. This year, I will get those reluctant and unmotivated readers to read those books with three simple solutions!

Read Alouds

That's right! We need to really incorporate read alouds into every lesson, even in the upper grades. If every teacher chooses a couple of the Virginia Readers Choice (VRC) books into daily classroom read aloud time, every student will hear a couple of the books. Research shows that reading aloud to children can help students in so many ways, one of them giving them a desire to read! And that doesn't mean they follow along with you ~ they just simply listen and enjoy the story. That makes readers want to read!

Book Clubs

Create a love for reading by purchasing several copies of some of the books. Then let your students choose which one they want to read. Once they have the book they want, they can then read it and share their thoughts with their peers who have read the same book. This allows for some student choice and helps them understand others as well. You could set it up similar to Literature Circles, so everyone has a role and discussion keeps flowing. 

Your Classroom Library

Put them in your library! Splurge a little and purchase the books,maybe even a couple of copies of each! Read them yourself and do a book talk for each one. Put them in prominent places on your shelves like they do in the library. Now your students will WANT to read them! I promise! It works! And once the students read them, have them sell the books to other students. Peer recommendations are more powerful than adult recommendations!

If you're not sure where to start, you can join me at my blog, This Literacy Life, each Thursday as I read through the elementary Virginia Readers Choice books on my own blog. I will highlight each book one week as part of my Book Talk Thursday series with a synopsis (that gives nothing away), way to use it with students, and possible freebies! Today I am featuring The Turtle of Oman, so head over to read more about it by clicking {here} or on the picture below!

Click on the picture to head over to today's post!

I would love to hear of other ways you can get students to read and love these books in your own classrooms! Leave any other fun and motivating ideas in the comments below!

Pin for later:
Reading the Virginia Readers Choice books can be fun for many students, yet daunting at the same time. Find out some easy ways to get your students motivated to read them all year long!




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