Lesson plan

Reading Inventories

Want to engage students in reading? Give them books that they want to read! This lesson will give you a chance to learn about your readers so that you can best support them to become fluent readers.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Sorting & Describing Books pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Sorting & Describing Books pre-lesson.
  • Students will be able to articulate the types of texts they would like to read.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about the books they like to read or have read aloud to them.
  • Have students turn and talk to share about one of their favorite books. Ask clarifying questions of students to prompt them to share the name of the book, to give a summary of what the book is about, and to share why they like it.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that books, or texts, can be fiction or nonfiction. Fiction books have made-up characters and made-up events. Nonfiction books teach information about real-life topics.
  • Explain that fiction and nonfiction books can be written about different topics, or subjects (e.g. princesses, tigers, parks, Africa).
  • Tell students that it's important for us to practice reading different books, but that we all have books that we prefer to read. Our reading preferences are important to discover! The more we enjoy the books we read, the more likely we are to enjoy reading.
  • Share about a few of your reading interests and preferences.
(15 minutes)
  • Show students the books that you've selected. After reading the title of each book, briefly flip through the pages in front of the class.
  • For each book, ask students to identify whether the book is fiction or nonfiction and the topic of the book. Additionally, ask them to clarify the reasons for their choices. For example, ask "What details give tell you this is a fiction book?"
  • After identifying the type and subject of the book, have students give a thumbs up or thumbs down to share whether or not they are interested in the book.
(25 minutes)
  • Have students fill out the Reading Interest Surveys. If students need support reading the surveys, read each sentence aloud as they circle the face that describes their feelings about each type of book.
  • Hand out a piece of paper to each student. Have them write down five types of books they enjoy reading.
  • Instruct students to go to the classroom library and find books that match the interests they identified.


  • Ask students to write why they enjoy the types of books they identify.


  • Pair students while searching in the library for certain type of books.
  • Have students identify 1–2 types of books they enjoy reading.
(5 minutes)
  • Pair students into groups and have them share the their book choices with each other. Tell partners to take turns asking each other questions to get more information about the book. For example, "Can you tell me how you know it's a fiction/nonfiction book? What other information would you like to share about your book choices?"
  • Listen to student discussions to gather information about their thought processes and assess their ability to ask questions to clarify their understanding about their partner's book choices.
  • Assess how students describe the types of books they enjoy and how they find books that do or do not match their descriptions.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask student volunteers to share out about one of the books they found in the library, and ask readers to explain why they are interested in the books.
  • Allow students to talk about their partner discusssions. Ask students if their partnership questioning helped them understand more about fiction and nonfiction books.

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