You asked if the Reader's Notebook binders ever get full. I used to use half-inch binders, and they did get full. When I switched to 1-inch binders, that was not as much of a problem. Another thing that helped was really condensing my mini-lesson handout section. When I first created this section in the notebook, I felt like I needed to create a helpful handout for nearly every new strategy or skill I was teaching. Before giving students a handout to add to their binder, I now ask myself, "Do I think my students will actually use the handout when reading independently?" or "Is the handout something to which I would like to direct my students' attention when conferring with them?" If I can answer no to either question, I do not give students a handout for the mini-lesson. Each year it seems like there are fewer handouts in the binder because I pay close attention to what my students are really using to improve their reading.
If the reading response section gets too full, I may ask students to take some of the response pages home. I try to comment on their responses as they are written (which helps me guide my future teaching), so the parents can see the comments when the responses come home. However, this is a last resort option. Ideally I like to keep everything students have written in the binder all year. This way the students (and the teacher) can really see the improvement that takes place over the school year in terms of the students' quality of responses. It is nice for parents to also see their child's enhanced level of reading response when they take their notebook home each month.
I hope this answers your question!
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