Friday, June 21, 2013

common core seminar, 6 shifts, 3

 so far, the common core shifts we've looked at are:
1.  increasing informational text
2.  having teachers of science, social studies, math, religion, etc. consider themselves reading instructors, using the standards to guide them.  
 the third shift is called the staircase of complexity.  
this one is tricky.
at the seminar, they referred to the goal of having children read "above grade-level texts".  in short, these more challenging books are very close to the child's frustration level.  

let's look at the three sides of the triangle:
1.  quantitative measures - this is the readability and other scores of text complexity, and can be measured by a computer.
2.  qualitative measures - these are things like levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands.  these are best measured by attentive people.
3.  reader and task considerations - these include the background knowledge of the reader, and their motivation and interests.  assessing this requires educators to use their judgement, creating or assigning tasks that are appropriate.  


have you heard of lexile scores for books?

they level books, and the levels are increasing the rating for each grade.  here's the new chart:

K-1st grade - Not applicable - build foundational skills
2nd - 3rd grade - 450 - 790
5th - 5th grade - 770 - 980
6th - 8th grade - 955 - 1155
9th - 10th grade - 1080 - 1305
11th - 12th grade - 1215 - 1355

beware!  grown-ups need to be part of choosing books!  lexile scores do not tell all.  
for instance, to kill a mockingbird has a lexile of 870, and 
the diary of a wimpy kid has a lexile score of 950.  

here's my take:
if we can create enthusiastic, voracious readers, we'll need to worry less about making sure the books they choose exactly match or just exceed their abilities.  
my goal as a teacher is to grow kids who read for pleasure.  
i know if they do that, their vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency will benefit.  

of course, we still need to teach the comprehension strategies, but our job is so much easier when children want to read.  

more on that when we look at shifts 4, 5, and 6.  

literature is beautiful.
happy weekend!

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