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Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5
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Engaging With Literature
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About This Video Library

Lesson Builder

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Video Titles:

1. Signposts

2. Voices in the Conversation

3. Starting Out

4. Responding
to Literature


5. Sharing the Text

6. Building Community

7. Book Buddies
About This Video Clip
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8. Finding
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9. Discussion
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7. Book Buddies

About This Video Clip

"The whole purpose of Book Buddies is the interaction among the kids and for them to help each other learn to read better and learn to look more deeply into literature."

Tim O'Keefe, 3rd-Grade Teacher
The Center for Inquiry
Columbia, South Carolina
Exciting things often happen when two teachers merge their classes for literature discussion. In this video, you will see how Tim O'Keefe and his third graders meet with his colleague Julie Waugh and her fifth graders for Book Buddies — paired discussions about a book they have read together. The book they have chosen, Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco, is one that many of the students are already familiar with. The older students read a number of Polacco books when they were in third grade, and, as Mr. O'Keefe reminds his class, this is a book he read aloud to them earlier in the school year. The purpose of this encounter is to offer both groups of students an opportunity to experience rich, authentic literary discussions.

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Thoughtful logistical planning is central to the success of this shared activity. Mr. O'Keefe and Ms. Waugh were careful to choose a book that is accessible to students with a range of reading abilities. At the same time they looked for a book with interesting events and universal themes to stimulate rich discussion. Mr. O'Keefe notes that he and Ms. Waugh anticipated intense interactions about the book and so divided their reading over two days. Each day the Book Buddies read and discussed the assigned section of the book together and chose a response mode from a suggested list. Finally, both classes met together in one classroom to discuss their reading and their responses.

Providing students with multiple opportunities to experience envisionment building is a central aspect of effective literature classrooms. Book Buddy meetings offer students authentic occasions to do just that.

For resources that can help you use this clip for teacher professional development, preservice education, administrative and English/language arts content meetings, parent conferences, and back-to-school events, visit our Support Materials page. There you will find PDF files of our library guide, classroom lesson plan, student activity sheets, and other Teacher Tools.






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