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Roberts Students Love Literacy Thanks to Student-Led Book Clubs

This is a photo of two students sitting at desks looking over books covered with post-it notes.Advanced readers at Roberts have been given a special opportunity to further develop their love for literacy: student-directed book clubs!
Fourth graders in Tessa Seymour’s class who read at or above grade level were able to choose from a selection of books to read during their ‘small group block’ time. Based on the book they selected, students broke into groups to begin their reading and discussion.
"I like the book clubs because I’m able to read with people I have things in common with," student Ariah Scott said.
“I like the book clubs because we get to share our ideas and ask our own questions,” Ma’Jae Pinkston added. “We can have fun with each other and read a book that we all enjoy!”
“It’s fun to hear their response to the book and how they think and feel about what is happening,” Osman Abdwirahim shared. “We get a chance to share books with each other and explore new books together!”
The students use a calendar to plan their day to day reading; and as they read, they jot notes on post-its as reminders of things they’d like to talk about with their group – also serving as a way to help with their reading comprehension and get students thinking deeply about the text. Twice a week, they meet with Ms. Seymour to check in.
“We have group discussions and I use that time to teach a specific skill or strategy they can use or think about as they are reading,” Ms. Seymour shared. She has prompted the students to share their thoughts on character traits, setting, secondary characters, motivations, vocabulary, actions and more. “Students are given free range on whether they want to work with a partner and buddy read or read independently. When students are buddy reading you will often hear a great deal of conversation happening about the book! This organic conversation is great… that’s the goal!”
"I like it because we can relate to each other,” student James Lutwin said. “We can have discussions with each other. We can talk about the book together because we have all read it. There is a lot of information you can learn from reading!”
This year, a digital element was added: students are invited to use Padlet as a blog feature. Ms. Seymour and the students can pose questions to their groups and respond in a digital format.
“They love this new aspect of book club,” Ms. Seymour added. “I even have students commenting and responding to their book club members on the weekends! The Book Clubs have been a huge success so far this year. I am so proud of my students!”
Students said that the digital platform helps them feel more connected – and comfortable – when expressing themselves.
"I like that I get to chat at home with my friends about the book, even on the weekends," Zivanah Jones said. 
“I am shy, but the blog means I get to share my opinions about the book," Omar Abdwirahim added.
We’re proud of these Roberts students for taking ownership of their learning and connecting over shared interests!
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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