Posts tagged reading
Wednesdays in the Word

My grade three literacy program is part Daily 5, part Literacy Place, part Reading Power, and part 6-Traits.

I haven’t ever found one program that completely fits the needs of my students, so I have always borrowed from the best parts of the most quality reading and writing programs on the market.

Each day, my students sit for 20-25 minutes of independent, sustained Read to Self time.

In our room, this is treasured time.

My students need the time both to practice their reading, and to have a small amount of time that is calm and quiet.

They treasure this time as much as I do, and heaven help us if this block has to be moved for some reason!

Most of the time, students can choose to read any book (or magazine, or comic) that they would like as long as it is usually at their level.

However, on Wednesdays, we spend the entire Read to Self block in our Bibles.

We are so lucky to have a class set of Bibles that are assigned to each student.

We have New International Reader's Version Bibles that are just about perfect for a third grade reading level.

I think that it is so important to cultivate a classroom culture that places an emphasis on the Word as being important.  Building strong spiritual disciplines starts early, and the Christian classroom is a great place for this.  

How can I teach and tell my students that reading their Bibles is important if we are not spending time to do that during class time?

How can I talk about how important it is for them to fall in love with God’s Word if I am not setting that example myself?

Before our time in the Word begins, I stand at the board and help students to navigate their Bibles.

They will yell out topics and stories that they want to read about, and I will (to the best of my ability) point them to the Book/Chapter in the Bible that they will head to.

Sure, there are parts of the Bible that they won’t yet be able to understand, and some of it is above their reading level, but that doesn’t mean that they are too young to start the habit of reading from a Bible for enjoyment. 

Spoiler Alert: The boys like the stories about battles, fierce animals, and God showing his POWER!

I cannot tell you how full my heart feels during this block.

It’s amazing to look around the room and see a class full of students enraptured by the Bible.

I love it when students skip up to share something new that they have discovered, or just cannot wait to tell a friend about what they have read.

Even though we only have scheduled “Wednesdays in the Word” so many of my students have begun pulling out their Bibles for Read to Self much more than one day a week.

It’s such a joy to watch the Spirit move in our classroom through the hearts and minds of these little ones.

The Best Read Alouds for Third Grade

When I first began student teaching, my mentor teacher always used to say that there were three things that must happen each day in an elementary classroom.  First, students need to write something.  Second, students need to actively read something.  Finally, there needs to be a point in each day where the teacher reads out loud to their students.  

No matter how busy or crazy the school day, he always emphasized the importance of reading out loud, and students loved it.

I've carried those three rules into my own classroom, and reading out loud is something that both I, and my students, always look forward to.  I try to pick from a variety of texts as I read out loud: novels, picture books, information texts, silly poems... almost anything!  Here are a few of my favourites books to read out loud: 

The Book With No Pictures (by B.J. Novak)

This book is one of the silliest read alouds I have ever purchased, but even after reading it a dozen times (no exaggeration) my students are still begging me to read it "just one more time."  Make sure that you're ready to be a little bit goofy, and play along with the story in the book! 

My Mouth is a Volcano (by Julia Cook)

This one is my favourite "teaching" books.  It has a lesson, and my third graders find it easy to connect to the story.  In My Mouth is a Volcano, the main character has difficulty with 'blurting' his thoughts and answers during class, and finds help in visualizing his words as a volcano erupting!  I have a class of excited 'blurters' this year, and it's been great to find a book that helps us to see how blurting may hurt other classmates' chance at sharing their ideas. 

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (by Chris Grabenstein)

This book is a few levels above my third grade students, but I read it aloud for a class novel study.  It's a great book and has about a hundred chances to make text-to-text connections while you read! It follows the adventures of a group of seventh grade students as they explore (and escape from!) a brand new library designed by an eccentric master game maker.  Think The Amazing Race meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Note:  The first quarter of the book is a little bit slow, and introduces a lot of smaller characters, but stick with it, it gets a lot better! 

How about you? What is your class reading right now? What inspires you as a teacher?

- Rachel

*All images of books are from