What Works Wednesday: Book Vines

What Works Wednesday!

It’s all about what is working well in my classroom.

Today I’d like to focus on…

Book Vines!

I work with readers in grades 4-6 and my readers have been doing a fantastic job with independent reading. They have been devouring books and challenging themselves to read more and more. Luckily, books in a series provide them with opportunities to reach their reading goals. Some of the most popular books they enjoy are I Survived, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (of course), and graphic novels galore! My mission though is to encourage them to reach out and supply them with books to break their book binging habits.

But there has been a void.

A void in reading and enjoying picture books.

Honestly, I can understand because most often picture books are associated with younger readers. Picture books are overlooked even though there are so many great picture books out there that are certainly appropriate for readers at this level.

It’s left me in a quandary!

How do I promote the love of picture books to my readers to ensure that they are enjoying the beautiful illustrations and to be sure they are engaging in the text in a meaningful fashion? The answer…

Book Vines!

A Book Vine reminds my of a book club, sort of. The reader selects a picture book of interest from the Book Vine options and then reads it independently. Along the way, they jot down what they are thinking on a Post-It note. Here are the six thinking strategies my readers use to demonstrate their thinking:


The “book club” aspect is that the reader has the opportunity to see the Post-It note and the thinking of the previous reader. They can react to the original thought or add their own thought, hence creating a vine, a book vine, of thoughts.

When the reader is finished with the book, they keep their Post-It notes in the book for the new reader to enjoy. Then they add the Post-It notes from the previous reader to the book vine chart. Now the chart can be shared by all, those who also read the book or even those who may be interested in the book.


Here are the picture books for the first round of book vines. They are all excellent books and the readers are thoroughly enjoying them.


My readers are asking if they can sign up for more than one book and they are already asking which books will be in the next round of book vines.

They are enjoying!

They are thinking!

They are reading!

Mission accomplished!

Book Vines!



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18 thoughts on “What Works Wednesday: Book Vines

  1. Wow, Amy! I love this idea. It not only engages students with books, it engages them with the thinking of their peers. It’s brilliant to display all the older post-its around the book so that others can get a sneak peek as well. I’m already wondering how I can incorporate this idea in my classroom! Did I mention I love, love, love this idea? Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Thanks, Molly. These picture books literally sat on the counter by the window and NOBODY touched them. I showed a video about Alex the Parrot from YouTube and introduced the book vines and it was like magic. The kids couldn’t wait to read them.

  2. I love that you are promoting picture books to upper elementary students, and that you are treasuring their written comments. What a great thing to do within a learning community.

  3. Pingback: Writing Territories: 34 Ideas to Push the Pen and Keep the Keys Clicking | Runner, Reader, & Rockin' Mom

  4. Oh, I love all the choices and the idea of book vines – fantastic! Students love writing on sticky notes, and the size is not intimidating. Your choices for books – thumbs up! Six Dots by Jen Bryant is a favorite. Rose Cappelli and I created a study guide for Jen for this book – it is posted on her website. Thanks for sharing – the photos are so helpful!

  5. I love this idea, Amy! I have often wondered about a way to connected different readers through the same text other than book clubs. This is a great way to do that, especially with shorter picture books. Thank you!!!

  6. I love this idea, Amy. What a great way to build your reading community. Keeping the Post-it’s and adding to them, broadens thinking and piques interest. How lucky your readers are!

  7. I absolutely love this!! I bookmarked it and sent it to a few friends, too! I am going to “borrow” this idea for my own 3rd graders. I am part of a Twitter book club and we leave sticky notes in the books that we pass around – and it’s always great to see someone else’s connections. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Pingback: What Works Wednesday: Six by Six Memoirs | Runner, Reader, & Rockin' Mom

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