Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How to Make Personalized Readers to Engage Your Class!

My students, being language learners, tend to read English significantly below grade level. But it can be hard to find engaging books for older children at their grade level! I started writing my own passages for my students to read years ago, but there weren't as many illustrations as I'd like for my English learners to help them with new vocabulary.

Over time, I developed a simple template for making my own printable books, (which is available free from my TpT store here!). I simply copy the template into a new powerpoint, then change the text in the text boxes and add relevant pictures, either clip art or photos if I can find them.

While writing my own stories has definitely helped to make them more fun for my class, this week for the first time we got to do something entirely new: write a book together. My newcomers have been learning action and activity words (see my unit here), and to wrap it up we did a shared writing activity. My students dictated and I wrote on chart paper about our favorite activities to do. They introduced themselves, then told about themselves in the third person.

Yes, that classy wood paneling came standard with my classroom

Now, of course, this is the world's most boring book because just about all of my students' favorite activities is to play soccer. So we went outside and played some soccer, and I took pictures of my students enjoying themselves.

Then we came back in and used those pictures in more descriptive sentences, with words like smile, stand, run, and kick.

I typed up our sentences in my book template and used the photos from our soccer game to illustrate it. Now we have a class book that we wrote together, with actual photos of our class to illustrate it! My students love the book and choose it from the classroom library every day.

I think we'll be doing this with our next unit on plants, too!


  1. LOL regarding soccer, but I really like the idea of going outside and taking photos to extend students' learning and use in the book. Great blog post!