I recently have been turned onto book darts…have you seen them? After hearing rave reviews from both Anne Bogel and Sarah McKenzie , my interest was peeked and I knew I had to get some.Book Darts are teeny metal “darts” that slide onto the page of a book and point to a chosen passage. I couldn’t wait to tell you how I have been having such fun using book darts to engage young readers.
Raising readers can be a tricky business. Do you struggle to get your elementary kids engaged in novels? With so many other distractions, I have often found it hard to get my students (and my own children!)really engaged with what they are reading. Book Darts have been working like a charm both at home and school, to take our reading up to the next level. And we have all been truly enjoying the entire process.
Here’s how I am using book darts:
When my book darts came in the mail, I opened them in front of my kids with much anticipation and excitement and explained a little about what they could be used for. It certainly helps that they are tiny and come in cool metal colors. They are very appealing to tinkering kids. I gave my boys each a few of the darts to keep on the front page of their books and told them to just mark any interesting passages they read. Two days later my youngest son came to me and wanted to share a passage from his book. We had such a sweet moment together (over a book!) as he shared a sad moment from his novel. I LOVE these book darts!
I am also modeling their use by sharing passages that I mark in my own reading and the book I am reading aloud at home. You may have to model them for awhile before they catch on. One of my kids is a bit more into them than the other and I won’t force anything yet.
I just started a novel, The Secret School, by AVI, with my third graders. Each student received three book darts with the assignment to mark a few spots they liked as they read thru two chapters. I casually gave examples of what they might mark: “Something important to the story, something funny, something you did not understand, etc.” and left it at that. They were quite excited about the darts as they do seem a bit “grown-up”.
I was very pleased with their choices. At our next meeting, they read the passages they marked and explained the reasoning behind their choices. Even the struggling readers in the group picked passages that were funny or had “words they liked”. Some chose something that reminded them of their life or of another book they had read.
It was super!! They were all making connections with the book and just naturally reading it a bit more closely than before. We continued using the book darts throughout the entire book. It really helped our discussions and we were all excited to see what each had marked.
Here’s whats so great about book darts and how they really engage young readers:
In short, book darts are helping to cultivate a LOVE of reading, which is my goal as a mom and a teacher.
Book darts let kids highlight what’s meaningful to them in a book, making the book their own. Marking passages makes kids excited to share what they are reading. The marked passages give kids something to talk about. All of this good work solidifies even further that THEY are readers.
I have noticed that marking passages makes kids read more carefully the next time and each time after that. They have almost become detectives.
Book darts can by used in a variety of ways to get readers to investigate a book a bit closer. Readers can mark evidence in the book which answers more targeted questions. where do you think the character was the bravest? When were we introduced to the problem? Find a part where we really get to know something about the main character.They can search for challenging vocabulary words, too. them find vocabulary words this way and give them little assignments to find certain parts….
The process could not be simpler and yet, it has such a positive impact on reading in both my classroom and home. I highly encourage you try it with your kids!! I bet you’ll be hooked, too.
Started your Holiday shopping yet? Book darts make great teacher gifts and stocking stuffers!
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