You Pick: Giving Power to Our Students

Sep 16, 2017

First things first: I am not an expert on this topic!  But my teammate is trying it out this year and so I thought I would share what we are doing and WHY.

This summer a small group of us attended Nerd Camp in Michigan.  My teammate, Karen, attended a session on reading rituals and learned about a routine that we are calling "you pick."  Each day two books are displayed.  In the morning, students "vote" on which book they would like to hear read.  That book is then enjoyed by the class and the other one is placed in the classroom library or goes back into the basket of books to be voted on again.  Finally, a picture of the book is put on display so that we can keep a log of all the "you pick" books read aloud during the year.

That's it.

But why?  As a first grade classroom our students are hearing read alouds each and every day; however, the book typically serves some type of teaching purpose.  Maybe we are analyzing the character or we may be looking at the nonfiction text features.  "You pick" (for our class) is about just enjoying a read aloud each and every day just to...enjoy it.  No other reason.  We also want students to understand that they have the power of choice.  And we want to honor their choices.

Here's a little more detail.
Two books are displayed in the hallway.  We will typically put up two books that are shorter because this needs to be a pretty quick read aloud each day.  Here are some of the ones we have done so far this year:

In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming versus In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
How Kind by Mary Murphy versus The Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry versus Carrot and Pea by Morag Hood 
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds versus Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

When students arrive at school in the morning they vote for the book that they would like to hear.  I think there are probably a million ways that this could occur.  The display is in the hallway.  Students place clothespins on a ribbon (fine motor skills!).  This is super easy for a student to take down all the clothespins after the book has been chosen.  Our hope is that putting them on display in the hall will entice other students to check out those books too!

 Finally, we post a picture of each book chosen.  This will help the students to remember all the books that were chosen by them throughout the year.  We decided to make it look like a calendar.  This display of books was not in our original plan; however, with the HP instant ink and a new printer, I am able to print these pictures off much easier than I thought.

There are many teachers out there that are doing a "classroom book a day."  This is just our version of it.  We had to make it work for our first grade students.  But I am really looking forward to the impact that it is going to have on them!



  1. Truly inspiring! Now to work on this for my Kinders, I think we could definitely love this. Thanks!!!

  2. What a great idea! I am anxious to see how I can adapt this for my classroom. I love the idea of making students more aware of reading rituals and choices! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for reading! We were hoping it would be well received this year and it really has been. I catch myself sitting there listening as my teammate reads the book of choice aloud to the class. They are engaged and excited about it each day.


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