Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Notebook Connections

Last summer I got Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook, so earlier this spring I was excited to see that Aimee Buckner had another book coming out, Notebook Connections: Strategies for the Reader's Notebook. I pre-ordered it on Amazon, and could hardly wait for it to come. When I received it earlier this week I read it right away. The book came at a perfect time as I am planning for next year.

As I was reading, I had an aha moment that I already do many of the strategies that Buckner mentions; however, having students do them in a reader's notebook will be an excellent opportunity to have their reading responses in one place in order to demonstrate student growth over time. Buckner explains, "I've developed a reader's notebook model that is flexible enough for students to respond in a variety of ways, yet structured enough to provide explicit instruction" (p. 7). I will now have my students use their reader's notebook as a central location to do the following activities that were separate this year: weekly reading log response, book club responses, occasional read aloud/independent reading response. Not only will this be helpful for me, but also for student and parent conferences.

Throughout the book I appreciated that Buckner made distinctions between the reader's and writer's notebook, while also making it clear how they complement each other in her classroom. The notebooks reaffirm to students the reading-writing connection.

As with Notebook Know-How, I loved Buckner's conversational writing style, the great strategies she shared, and the glimpses into her classroom that we see through her book. I will be pulling Notebook Know-How out again this summer and both books will have a large impact on my curriculum next year.

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