Reading in the Wild: Wild Readers Self-Select Reading Material {Chapter 2}

Still playing catch-up (slowly, but surely!), but I'm back with a few more thoughts on Reading in the Wild and I've updated the freebie pack!

We spend a LOT of time at the beginning of the year talking about how to choose just-right books and helping the kids become familiar with the way our library is set up - more on that in my next post! At the beginning of 3rd grade, most of my kiddos are excited to see baskets upon baskets of chapter books. However, that doesn't always mean that those are books they're ready to read. But considering their reading has probably been minimal over the summer I don't fight it.

Within a week of building reading stamina, they realize they need to be more careful when they are choosing books for their book tote. In fact, most of my reading conference conversation in those first few days and weeks are all about why the books in their totes aren't working. And I'm okay with that.

One of the things I do to support kids who may not be ready for third grade texts is to save space in our group meeting area for a read-aloud display.

Anytime we read a book together, it goes to live on the read aloud shelf for at least a month. This gives everyone time to pick it up and read it. Struggling readers are able to navigate the text a little easier because they are familiar with the story. These are also great texts for students to read with a buddy.

I loved this quote. I'm not always great at sticking to this, but I do my best. One of my biggest challenges this year was a group of boys who insisted on reading the Wimpy Kids books even though it was way beyond their reading ability. (I also had a hard time keeping those books in our library, but that's another post.) I didn't want to tell them they couldn't read those books - I had just gotten them excited about reading! So, I scrambled to find something similar along the lines of a graphic novel - but at a 1st grade reading level. These are a few of the titles I found that all of my struggling readers really enjoyed.

I also gave them the option of continuing to try and read the Wimpy Kid books. My only stipulation was that they check in with me frequently so that I could see they were making progress with the book. I wasn't expecting miracles, but I needed to see that they were trying to read the books and not just using them as a show piece in their book totes.

9 times out of 10, they recognized it was too hard and gave up within a week or so. The determined holdout trudged through the book and enjoyed it... although it took awhile before he tried the second book in that series. :)


I hope this is a "given" for any classroom teacher. I have new books that I try out every year, but I also have tried and true books that I LOVE to read with my kids no matter what. I really struggle to "sell" books to my kids that I don't enjoy.

In a school that celebrates a Book of the Month each month, I've inevitably come across some titles I didn't love. However, some of my best classroom conversations have happened after those read-alouds when I ask the kids for their feedback. I love to see how animated they get about whether or not the book was a good pick for our school. :)

I thought a fun follow-up chart for those discussion would be post-it votes on a chart that we could display outside of the room. I would want the kids to do more than just vote with a thumbs up or thumbs down beneath the book title. Having them defend their opinion, whether it's with a partner or on their own, could be an excellent way to tie in writing and point-of-view standards!

Charlotte's Web is one of those "Read Every Year" books for me. The year I looped up to 4th and realized I was going to have to find all new read-alouds for my kids *might* have set off a bit of panic in my brain. It ended up being a really fun challenge to find new material, but I missed the books I looked forward to each year. What are some of those books for you?

I wanted to leave you with the updated freebie pack I'm working on as we make our way through this book study. For Chapter 2, I've added 2 printables - one that asks students to "Rate Your Reads". I would use this as more of a working reading log. I've also included a "Reflect on What You Select" printable. This would be more for me. I'd like to go over it with my students in a reading conference or small group. Then I could use it to inform my choices on what to keep, purge, and buy for our classroom library. 
Click on the picture below to grab your freebie pack!

Click Me!

Let me know if you see any glaring errors! Looking forward to checking back in with you soon!


  1. Love the read aloud book shelf! I have been wanting to add one to my read aloud area as well. Great for struggling readers to be able to reread a familiar text. Where did you get yours?

    Amie H
    Trekking Through Third Grade