A while back, I read a great article on Choice Literacy called "A Workshop Model in the Library: Time For More Than Book Checkout" by Franki Sibberson. I will say that the Choice Literacy site is worth every penny of the membership fee, especially for a librarian. (Thanks, Lesley, for finding the public article!)
In a nutshell, she talks about setting up library time like we do the reading workshop. Start with a mini-lesson, have kids choose their books and THEN come back together to share and read a story. I thought it sounded like a great idea, but I was a bit chicken to shake things up now that we have our routine established in the Hub.
But, shake it up I did today. I talked with the kids about doing a flip-flop of what we normally do, with the caveat that if it really flopped, we'd change back to what we normally do.
It was beyond wonderful. Having the mini-lesson first (today we talked about what it is that draws us to a book when we are in the library and how we make our choices) calmed us down and got us on track. After checking out, we all met back on the stairs for our story. This allowed us to end on a great note together instead of the normal routine of me herding kids from all over the place trying to get them in line, which always felt quite chaotic to me. This is also almost exactly the feeling Franki got when she did it. I tried it with kinder, 1st and 2nd grades today, and they were all successful. And that was on a Friday afternoon, so that's saying something.
Just because it was awesome to hear them articulate their reasons for book choice, here is the list from one second grade class:
1. The cover is fab!
2. It's about something you love, like an animal
3. It's a just right book
4. The title looks good
5. You want to try something new that looks good
6. You like the author
7. The character is good
8. Reread a favorite
9. It's something you love to do, like a craft
10. The inside pics look good and funny