Want a way to excite students to track their reading so that they are motivated to choose just right books? We need to teach students that it's okay to read books that are a little hard, and it's perfectly fine to read books that are easy...just for fun! But, the real value of independent reading happens when students can select books that are both entertaining and the appropriate reading level. My reading ladder can help by providing a visual reminder of the power of book choice.
Ladder: Use this reading ladder as a tracking sheet or reading tracker, a reading reflection, or just as a supplemental way to help students monitor their reading choices. The purpose of the ladder is to help you lead a conversation about what books are worth reading...all of them! And also to discuss how sometimes it's important to work through hard books and ask for help. Other times, it's fun to read picture books and short novels that bring smiles to our faces.
You will find an additional brainstorming ladder in this resource that has questions to help students reflect on books they've already read that are boring, entertaining, just right, challenging, and frustrating.
This resource has many potential uses! For example, have students add it to the front of their reading notebooks to simplify the process of monitoring reading for the year.
Bookshelves: The bookshelves that correspond with each level of the ladder will help students tangibly track how many books they are reading at each level. Ideally, the majority of books students will be reading will be on the Just Right shelf. However, asking them to track books they've read that are easy and hard can help to frame our conversations about perseverance and self-monitoring. My reading ladder can help you have those discussions.
Students will also have a place to record the number of books they have finished and those they have abandoned...because...that matters, too.
You may decide to have students color code the books on the shelves or the rungs on the ladder to indicate genre, rating, and etcetera.
Versions: For your convenience, this resource includes both a PDF and a partially editable PPT file so that you can tweak the wording to fit the language you use with your students. PLUS! You will find each page has different wording. Choose the one that fits your needs best, or use the editable files to personalize your resource.
Optional: Students can color the reading ladder and bookshelves as they please. Asking them to choose colors that represent genres or how they feel about the books is an interesting way to get to know your learners.
This reading ladder is perfect for secondary students. However, it can be used with other age groups as well. Please keep in mind - the younger the student, the more help he or she will need with writing book titles and organizing them on the appropriate shelves. I have recently updated this resource to include options with larger spines!
You may find it helpful to give parents a copy to help their children keep track of independent reading experiences at home.
Note: There are now several versions of the book shelf. One is the original pictured in the resource thumbnails. The others are slightly larger versions of the book spine with alternate wordings. Don't see the exact wording you want? Edit the PowerPoint file to fit your needs.
Want to know more about helping students choose just right books? You can read this post.
Looking for more reading resources? Try these.
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