Teaching Reading

Preview Book Stacks

Going into the English department can be a challenging field because not everyone in the world is a reader. Something I have recently been exposed to is the idea of proving preview book stacks into the classroom. There are a couple different preview stacks tho go through so in this post, I will be talking about two of these and how I want to personally use them in my classroom.

Getting-to-Know-You Preview Stack– In this preview stack, there are two main goals for a teacher. The first is to inform themselves about the student’s reading stance, preferences, and aversions. The second is to get the student reading by matching them with appealing books. When giving these preview stacks, it is important to watch the student’s reactions. Visually being able to see if they are interested or not can be a green light on how to start the next preview stack that I will talk about later in this post. It can also be helpful to learn about a student’s past reading experiences and their favorite books. I can also be helpful to learn about books that they hated or disliked for whatever reason. Whether it be the story line or the writing style.

Image from Michele Scola

Jump-Start Preview Stack- This stack can be used throughout the year once a better understanding of the readers is developed. This is important because the teacher can start to help the student find different books and maybe progress them into harder reading levels so they can continue to challenge their reading skill. This is especially helpful if students come to a halt on their reading paths, hence the name “Jump-Start”.

In my classroom, I think these two kinds of preview stacks can be very helpful to students and their reading experiences. The thing I like most about preview stacks is that it allows the teacher to really understand their students and their interests. Something that I believe is important in preview stacks is putting a variety of different texts in a reading stack. Not everyone wants to read complex books all the time. Having students allowed to read a picture book every once in a while can give them a break. Something that I have been exposed to recently is graphic novels and I believe these can provide a break for students as well as challenge them because some graphic novels are thick and complex.

Overall, preview stacks are something that can be difficult to put together at times but I believe that the outcome is worth it. There will need to be a lot of preparation in order to create the preview stacks. It takes knowing the students, taking previous books I’ve read and even books I haven’t read but fall under their interests. I think it is important to realize that to give a preview stack, I do not need to read every book I suggest because everyone in different. Even if students do not read every book, they are at least exposed to a variety of different titles.


Harvey, S., Ward, A., & Pilkey, D. (2017). From striving to thriving: How to grow confident, capable readers. New York: Scholastic Teaching Resources.



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