It’s no surprise that Instagram is an amazing place to get a peek into some incredible classrooms. Every year I get new ideas from some of my favorite teachers’ classrooms that I know I have to try out! These past two years, it was a reading graffiti wall. (This idea originally came from Donalyn Miller in her book, Reading in the Wild.)
What is a Reading Graffiti Wall
A reading graffiti wall is a place on the wall in your classroom where students can write powerful quotes that they find in the books they are reading. A lot of them are chalkboard style – black with white writing, but they don’t have to be! Having a white wall with lots of different colors or with colors that coordinate with your classroom colors would look great too! The most important thing is that it is a place for students to share inspirational quotes from the books they are reading with the classroom reading community!
Materials for Creating a Reading Graffiti Wall
Selecting “Reading Graffiti Wall” Quotes from Books
I introduced our reading graffiti wall in conjunction with our first read aloud of the year, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. We talked about how our Reading Graffiti Wall was a place for us to write quotes from books that inspire us. These are the powerful quotes, spoken through the characters from books, that motivate us to be better people and help make our society a better place. Then as I am reading aloud, when I come across a good quote I will stop after reading it and we will discuss in.
Why did the character say that? Can we apply that to our lives? Does the quote make sense out of context? (This is huge… sometimes there are good quotes, but they don’t really make a lot of sense if you aren’t reading the book. We want the quotes on our Reading Graffiti Wall to make sense to anyone who looks at them).
Then I will choose a student to write our first quote on our Reading Graffiti Wall! As I continue reading, I remind students to listen carefully for other quotes that meet the criteria for our wall! There will be some lines that they think may be good, but then after discussing the criteria with the class, we may decide that it doesn’t work for our wall. Other times, they find great lines from the book that I didn’t even think of!
Fostering a Classroom Reading Community
After students have had some practice with picking out great quotes from our read aloud book, I tell them they are ready to be on the lookout for great quotes from the books they are reading independently! When they find a quote they think may be a good fit, they write it down on a post-it note. Then when I am available they will come and discuss it with me, and if we think it is a good quote for our wall I give them a chalk marker to go write it!
When students find a great quote, I always make sure to give them time to share the quote with the class, along with the book it came from and why the quote stood out to them. It is a great way for students to share the books they are reading with their classmates, and students are always excited to read books that have quotes on our Reading Graffiti Wall!
Have you tried a Reading Graffiti Wall in your classroom? I always love looking at other classrooms’ reading graffiti walls to get ideas for new books with powerful quotes!