Generating Class Reading Materials at the Elementary Level

Here is Alisa’s idea for generating class reading materials – instead of buying books – in order to, each year, expand the class library at the elementary level. I bet that this idea would work at any level. I will add examples as soon as I get them from her:

Instead of the comic books (which I plan to try soon) I’ve been creating classroom library materials in a slightly different way. After a story cycle is complete and there is a writeup of it that has been ‘processed’ – I often have it onscreen and ask the Ss where there should be a page break for illustrations. There end up being 2-4 sentences per page. I make sure to insert a title page with the class name, and also page numbers. Then, between classes I print out the mostly blank pages that have a small block of text, and I auction them off next class – as in, “Who want to illustrate the title page?’ or “Who want to illustrate the page where the worm eats the potato chips?’ I have enough copies of the story so that everyone has at least a page to illustrate in class for a few min, with a few extra for early finishers. My protocol is that they use crayon or colored pencil on clipboard or dry erase lapboards; I ask for large and colorful illustrations that must match the meaning of the text on that page; don’t color on top of the words or page numbers, or within a half inch of the left margin) [Elementary, my dear Watson!]

Then I collect and order the pages, staple and viola! In one story cycle across say three grades (12 sections) I make have 12-18 books – every class’ is a variation on the same story but with different names, places, animals, cognates, etc. These are 7-10 page class-made storybooks. With say 15 on the shelf, indivs (depends how big the class is) or partners can read together for 10 min of FVR every few weeks – and/or keep trading books for the whole 30 min class period – every version is novel as either the story details or illustrations are fresh…
This is the only way that FVR has worked for elementary so far – class generated stories then turned to books/comics….
If you like I can send Ben some photos of a recent class created book for the PLC. BONUS**:Adminz love this proof of literacy…



4 thoughts on “Generating Class Reading Materials at the Elementary Level”

  1. The variations from class to class are like Mad Libs – or what I call “Find and Replace.” So instead of a penguin character, it’s a chimpanzee; instead of wanting Doritos, she wants fajitas. Instead of being named Pepé her name is Chu-Chu. This is all simply accomplished with the ‘find and replace’ buttons on your word processor, where you can change every instance of one word for another. I often do this ‘live’ onscreen in class which provides another opportunity for reps and feels kinda magical- and then I usu have to proofread for pronoun agreement, etc…
    So the details – character, name, object of affection, places, complementary characters, etc can all be traded out…but the same basic verb chunks are all the same.
    There is a dinosaur.
    His name is Guácale. He only likes sushi.
    He goes to Steak and Shake. They don’t have sushi. They have french fries.
    He goes to Poochies. They don’t have sushi, they have hamburgers.
    He goes to Costco. They have lots and lots of sushi.
    He eats and eats and eats. Now he has a different problem! He is thirsty.

    Find and replace version:
    There is a flamingo.
    Her name is Florence. She only likes fettuccini.
    She flies to Lalo’s. They don’t have fettuccini- they have tacos.
    She runs to Target. They don’t have fettuccini -they have Oreos.
    Finally she swims to Sea World. They have lots and lots of fettuccini.
    She eats and eats. Now she has a different problem! She has a terrible stomach ache!

    While side by side you can see how formulaic these seem, building them through questioning, dramatizing them, illustrating them on a class book can be pretty exciting – esp when they can read them on their own.

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