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Responding to Reading: Writing Letters about Books* Freebie!

Book Letters are incredible. They are one of the best things I did in the classroom. Lovers of books love to talk about books. We love to share books we love with other book lovers, too. Book letters, which students wrote to me in their reader’s notebooks, are a great way to get interactive with your readers and really figure out what’s going on in their heads!

To model book letters (because we know you must model every single behavior and strategy you expect in your classroom!) I started by responding in letter form to a book we’d read together. This is a book letter I wrote to my class about The Bee Tree, back in 2008. Wow, right? It’s amazing what you’ll find once you start going through your files!

I shared a copy of the letter with each student and they stuck it into their reader’s notebooks as a sample. They loved getting a letter from their teacher, even though they all got the same one!

After reading another book aloud, I modeled writing book letters in front of the students. You really have to slow down your thinking to do a good think aloud; examine your thoughts and explain how you know what to do, and where your ideas are coming from.

Creating a list of sentence starters is helpful, too. You can check out the anchor chart I used to do this here, on a previous post about monitoring your comprehension.

This is a cherished letter from one of my lovely students, who was reading Because of Winn-Dixie.

I tried to respond to the letters as often as possible. I’m not going to lie; it can be a challenge. But if it’s important to you, you’ll find the time!
And for more ideas, check out “Responding to Reading,” a freebie on TPT!

Or my new Scaffolded Reading Responses for Fiction!

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