Making an idea index can help us keep track of author's craft and possible strategy instruction so we are always ready for a focus lesson. I often underline text and write in the margin of books when I read so that when I pick up a book months or years later, I can remember what I loved about it. The problem with this is that I have to reread every underlined portion and notation to rediscover what stood out to me. Recently, I saw a twist on this idea that I couldn't wait to try.
Maria Popova, a professional blogger and prolific reader, came up with the idea of creating her own index. As she reads, she records the ideas she finds most interesting in the front of the book. Then, as she continues on she writes the page number and a line or two under each index heading, creating new headings if necessary.
This is genius. Now the front of the book is a ready reference to help find quotes, research, or important thoughts.
As a teacher, I can’t help but think how much this would help me in the classroom. If I create an index when I read a picture book or children’s novel, keeping track of places that would lend themselves well to reading strategies or author’s craft, I will always be ready for a focus lesson. I tried it with Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems by Georgia Heard, loved it, and am determined to do it with all my favorite read-alouds.
Check out the link to read more about Maria Popova and her Idea Index.