Books about dinosaurs for book club groups then focused writing
I Love Dinosaurs Series
written by Michael Berenstain
King of the Dinosaurs Tyrannosaurus Rex
The Biggest Dinosaurs
The Spike-Tailed Dinosaur Stegosaurus
Who's that Dinosaur? Series
written by Andy Charman
I let the kids preview the books. They signed up for their choice of dinosaurs. I had them pick two. I told them that they could have one of their two choices. I also reminded the kids that all the books would be available later in the ssr books.
In this lesson, I have several books about each type of dinosaur available. There are easy to read and more difficult books available for each dinosaur. Instead of matching the readers to the text, I divided the students into three groups of kids with differing abilities. There is at least one strong reader in each group. I am careful to spread the weaker readers out throughout the three groups as well.
Day One -- Guided reading
Read a book about a dinosaur. (I read IGUANODON also in the Who's that Dinosaur? Series written by Andy Charman)
We brainstormed what are the questions you want to answer about the dinosaurs. I wrote the questions on the board. Here are a few of the examples of the questions that the children thought of:
What does the dinosaur eat?
Where does the dinosaur live?
What size is your dinosaur?
How tall is the dinosaur?
How long is the dinosaur?
What makes your dinosaur special?
How does your dinosaur protect itself?
Then I reread a book about an IGUANODON (previously read the day before for ssr ). This is NOT one of the dinosaurs that the groups of kids are reading. Don't pick the same animal. It will cause problems.
As I read IGUANODON, I stop and think aloud the answers to a few of the questions.
I give the kids their books and have them read for about 15 minutes looking for and answering questions. I suggest that they might want to partner read within their book club group. They might decide to choral read or echo read. I strongly discourage round robin reading. If they start, I join the group and model another way to read.
Then I pull together the book club groups into a whole class. I ask What does the tyrannosaurus eat? Brontosaurus eat? Stegosaurus eat? I might go through a couple more questions, depending on time.
Day two guided reading
Book Club Groups the same groups of kids as yesterday.
This time the focus is finding what makes your dinosaur special. I give the group 10 sticky notes. I encourage them as a group to find at least 10 special facts about their dinosaur. They stick a sticky note on the page where the special information is.
Have the groups share a couple of the special features about their dinosaur.
Day three focused writing and guided reading
The book club groups will make a report about their dinosaur. Each kid writes a fact on an index card. The group presents their information to the rest of the class. Guided Reading on this day included practicing their sentences until they are fluent. The kids are allowed to write poems, make a poster, an overhead transparency, or anything else they think of. The kids love this.