It’s a Good Time to Check-In on Our Literacy Goals for the Year!

Most of us are beginning our second semester with lots of exciting plans and energy.  I hope part of your plan is to reflect on the literacy successes from the first semester and identify a few areas of growth – those areas that need more attention and some tweaking.

In order to guide this reflection, I recommend that we – teachers – use the same three questions that we use in our formative assessment process with our students.

  • Where am I going?
  • Where am I now?
  • What strategy or strategies can help me get to where I need to go?

The strength of formative assessment is that it requires us to be consistently checking in with our students. Having a conversation or conference, reading a journal entry, or reviewing a graphic organizer on main idea and supporting evidence are examples of how we can gather information about our students’ progress toward mastering a learning target. We need to do that same self-check with our goals to improve our literacy instruction.

Let’s use your classroom library as the exemplar for checking in on your literacy plan. I always have two goals for the classroom library. First, I want to organize the classroom library to support students becoming independent readers. Second, I want to use the classroom library to support instruction. Today we will use the first goal and formatively assess where we are towards meeting this goal!

Step 1 Where am I going?

(Focus on the learning goal)

My goal this year for my classroom library is to organize it to support students becoming independent readers.

Step 2 Where am I now?              

(Take stock of where current work is in relation to the goal)

So far I have:

  • Organized books by subject areas – i.e. biographies, sports, animals, healthy living, and planets.
  • Created authors’ baskets when I had 5 or more books of one authors.
  • Identified shortage of fantasy and informational books.
  • Provided spaces for students to be comfortable while reading.
  • Created a system for borrowing books – 250 books in our library.
  • Explained to students how to choose a book.

Step 3 What strategy or strategies can help me get to where I need to go?

(Take action to move closer to the goal)

If this is your classroom, you are off to a strong start. But, you are right. There is more to be done to meet your classroom library goal.

  • Have you talked to your colleagues about how they created and maintain their classroom libraries?
  • Have you shown your students how to choose a book?
  • Do you want some books to be “leveled” to help guide students to a “just right” book?
  • Have you considered creating a book basket that is labeled by an essential question – not by a topic? For example, “What makes these people heroes?” instead of “Biographies.”
  • Could you borrow some good fantasy reads and accessible informational books from your school library?
  • Can you ask your PTA for a grant to purchase more books?

Resources to Get Growing

Your Classroom Library Book CoverHere are some resources that will help you create, maintain, and grow a classroom library that supports students becoming independent readers.



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