Frenship Middle School students in Briana Massey’s seventh grade Pre-AP ELAR class are enjoying First Chapter Fridays this year. First Chapter Friday is all about creating a classroom community of readers where Massey briefly shares a book that she personally loves and reads the first chapter (or section) each Friday.
Q: What does this process teach students?
Massey: This process helps students become exposed to various kinds of books that they might not pick up on their own for independent reading.
Q: How did this activity come about?
Massey: Independent choice reading is a very important element of my classroom, and I always dedicate at least ten minutes of independent student choice reading every single day. By exposing students to my personal favorite books and reading the first chapter, they become hooked and want to read the book themselves.
Q: What is the students’ reaction?
Massey: The students are always ecstatic about First Chapter Fridays. I share the same book with all three blocks of students, and if the students are interested in snagging the copy of the book from my classroom library, they enter their name into a drawing. We call this a book raffle; whichever name I draw gets to borrow the book first. The others can try to find a copy in the school library or wait for it to come back to me.
Q: What is your favorite part about this activity?
Massey: The first 6-weeks, I shared my personal favorite books. The second 6-weeks, I invited other 7th grade teachers and admin to share their favorite books. This shows the kids that other adults besides their ELAR teacher actually do read, and they LOVE it. My favorite part about this tradition is the excitement the kids get from the books and then seeing that same book being passed around between various groups of friends and other students. I can’t keep the books I share on my shelves. They fly off like hot cakes!