A literacy notebook is really your field journal in the classroom. It’s a collection of assessing and planning. It’s where you write quick anecdotal observations, update a student’s reading level, and plan group and individual work.
There’s no right or wrong way to set up your literacy notebook. As an example, the following is how I set up mine. I used a three-ring binder.
Inside Pocket: HCDE Assessment Reporting Forms
- HCDE Class Record Form – This is the form on which we record our benchmarking data. On the form that Grades 3-5 use, we also record our writing assessments. Give a copy to your literacy leader so that she can turn in the school set to Central Office. Keep a copy in your literacy notebook.
Divider 1: Reading
- Planning Sheet for Guided Reading – This is the paper that lists all your students. For each student, you can mark at which level he or she is reading. It also has room for you to detail each student’s strengths and needs in various reading skills (self-monitoring, fluency, etc.) This makes planning small group instruction manageable.
- Guided Reading lesson plans – The nice thing about guided reading lesson plans is: one sheet is usually sufficient per week. As you meet with your guided reading groups and you open your literacy notebook, you can glance down at your lesson, write annotations regarding what students are saying/thinking/doing, and adjust upcoming lessons for the week.
- Running Records – from the Benchmarking.
- You may want to have individual tabs for your students as you add more running records, other formative assessments, or other evidences of learning. It’s nice to have the running records here when you see a student is struggling more than expected. You can refer back to the running record and decide if you want to decode those MSV errors.
- You may want to have individual summaries of student learning. Forms like this make parent-teacher conferences focused on student learning. (See the Assessment Guide in the F&P Kit.)
- Graphic organizers you want to keep on hand.
- Any Writing About Reading work that you give to or collect from students — See your CLL!
Divider 2: Word Study
- If you administer a pre-assessment in word study (i.e., Word Journeys has an assessment that categorizes each student’s word knowledge along a continuum), you can keep the Class Record here. This will help in planning word study lessons.
- Individual summaries of word knowledge (again, these help parent-teacher conferences stay focused on the learning.)
- Word sorts, discovery logs, frayers, vocabulary work – graphic organizers that you want to keep handy.
Divider 3: Writing
- Calendar — In the writing section, I keep a calendar of the current unit of study. I like to see the whole unit in front of me: when I’m teaching how to generate ideas for this genre of writing, when I’m teaching how to draft it out, what mentor texts I’m using, when students have to commit to a piece of writing, when we’ll edit, when we’ll revise, and when we’ll publish/celebrate.
- Mini-lesson teaching points – what I will teach and when.
- A running log of conferences that I have with each writer. With each conference, I jot down what the writer is working on, what he was doing well, and how I coached him in his writing.
- Student Work — I also keep published copies of student writing. This is helpful in planning, grade level meetings, parent-teacher conferences, etc.
- Rubrics for different genres of writing.