Readers React and Reflect at Forest Lake

Readers React and Reflect at Forest Lake

Fourth graders do a lot of independent reading at Forest Lake Elementary School, but they're always eager to talk about their books. That’s why students in Michele Anszelowicz’s class regularly get together with their reading partners. 

As fourth graders are reading chapter books and novels, Ms. Anszelowicz explained that these discussions are an essential tool to support reading comprehension. Students benefit from book talks with a partner, even if they are reading different stories.  

“Those who discuss their books learn more from it,” she said. “It holds them accountable and helps show if they are really understanding their books.”

Together, the reading partners analyze different literary elements, such as characters, plot, setting, theme and author’s purpose. Students roll large, paper dice with different prompts such as “I like,” “I wonder” and “It reminds me of,” which they use as jumping off points for dialogue.

Her fourth graders typically have one book they read independently in school and another they read at home. Ms. Anszelowicz has an extensive classroom library of more than 500 books to give her students many reading options. The partner discussions are usually focused on their in-school reading.

“We always have two books going at the same time,” she said. 

Students also keep a reading log for the books they read at home, where they review, recognize, relate, respond and reflect.