Monday, October 6, 2014
Book Tabbing: A Pacing Guide for Independent Reading
Pacing independent reading can get harder as students get older. Longer books, more time, less adult guidance, more responsibilities and activities. etc. I require my 5th graders to read outside of school and set goals with them about their independent reading that sometimes require deadlines. Most students have no trouble finishing in the necessary amount of time, but my slower readers, my procrastinators, and my self proclaimed I-have-better-things-to-do kids need a little guidance. Since I can't follow them home each night to check in on their reading, nor do I have time to conference with each student each day, book tabbing has been a life saver.
Having a goal of pages to read each day is much more appealing and manageable when let the kids use these cute little tabs. They act as a book mark and a visible goal for their daily reading. I use the little post-its that you can get in multi packs (the cheap off brand ones work just as well- they are tucked inside a book page, so they stick just fine). You could cut regular post-its in strips, but that is more time consuming and expensive. The kids love the colors, love that they are post-its (who doesn't love post-its?), and love reaching a tangible goal each day.
There are two groups of students that use Book Tabbing in my classroom:
1. Students who are behind in their independent reading, have a history of procrastinating, or chose a book longer than they normally read: these students are required by me to tab their books.
2. Type A kids that like to be organized or just really like post-its: I am totally fine with these students tabbing their books when they want to.
All of the kids are capable of tabbing their own books, but I have to do a little instruction to help them with that- otherwise they just stick a random amount of tabs in a book. In a designated place in our classroom, I keep a bag with the needed supplies: a set of instruction cards (printable below), easy to use calculators (though they can do the math by hand), and little post-it tabs.
Here are the step by step instructions for the students:
Here's a shot of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tabbed to be read in ten days:
These tabs make it very easy for me to quickly check in on students who need some guidance and accountability. I can ask if they read to their tab the previous day (or visually check) and ask them a few quick questions about that section, as well as what their plan is for finishing today's tab. Book tabbing is also helpful to me as a teacher because it allows me teach my students to set appropriate goals and to pace themselves when working on a big project, not just rely on adults to tell them where and when to complete a task. It has been a great (and easy to implement!) tool in my classroom.
Click here for printable Book Tabbing cards to use with your students: