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6-8 High Interest/ Low Level Reading


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Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 3
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Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 4:42:38 PM
Subject: 6-8 High Interest/ Low Level Reading

I'm frustrated trying to find reading lists of GOOD pleasure/ fiction books for my middle school students. I teach an 8th grade resource class with readers at the 3-6th grade level. I have found several lists that purport to be high interest/ low level, but they all seem more geared to high interest, and I really need some books at the lower reading levels. Anybody have any good resources for me? I would love some links to good book lists!! Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Janis
Joined Jun 12, 2003
Posts: 1442

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Posted:Apr 01, 2006 10:21:22 AM

Here is a site for you:

http://www.academictherapy.com/

Click on High Noon Books

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 1784

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Posted:Apr 01, 2006 12:35:18 PM

My take on this is that the students desperately need to learn to read on their interest level. Being stuck for life on a super-simplified reading level is not a pleasant fate, and not good for employment prospects. Future education is clearly cut off short as well.
Instead of spending the time having students go over and over grade 3 reading level, I work them up through 4 and 5 and 6 and 7.
I have a straightforward approach that is not news (at least not to anyone who has actually read the research) but it really does work: First re-teach phonics/decoding/encoding, which every one of these low readers that I have ever seen has real trouble with. Second re-teach handwriting with a stress on directionality, which is a *huge* problem for all these low-reading kids that I have ever met; straightening out directionality works what looks like magic on reading tracking, reading speed, accuracy in reading, and spelling. It is not an easy job and takes a long time with a lot of backsliding and re-correcting, but it is realy worth it. Third practice **oral** reading giving students sounding-out help as needed (not reading the word for them, but helping them work it out themselves, empowering) and giving constant feedback and correction, teaching them to self-correct.
If you work on this as little as two to three hours a week, step by step, you can see students improve two or three grade levels in a year, sometimes much more. I have one who has done six years or more in eighteen months; he is outstanding and you can't always expect this, but nice when it happens. SO much more worthwhile than repeating the same errors over and over in low reading level books.

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Apr 04, 2006 12:23:11 PM

There are publishers that specialize in this - I have a list of them at my site at http://www.resourceroom.net/older/hilow_sources.asp

I've also got reviews of some of the books I used with students, at varying levels, at http://www.resourceroom.net/comprehension/bookreviews/index.asp

The long answer :-)
You are completely right, though, that the publishers (and most teachers and librarians) overestimate the students' actual independent reading abilities. They don't realize that what thsoe students are doing when they point their faces at books is utterly removed from what I do, which is see and "hear" all the words, in their phrases and sentences, telling a story.

THat's why I don't depend on them to really *have* the "independent reading experience" and I did a lot of reading aloud to my students for just that reason. (SOme of them may have the listening and attention skills for books on tape, too.) Also, see if your school will fund something like DOn Johnston's Start to Finish books.

HOWEVER. Victoria is right. Despite the wishes of countless teachers, librarians, and education professors, giving books to students generally doesn't teach them to read them. Practice is a critical PART, as in PART NOT WHOLE of teaching someone to read. In my opinion (not shared by all :-)) the practice should support the instruction and not the other way around. (If you're a natural at something, then it may be reasonable to simply tweak any errors as you go along... but if there's something that doesn't come naturally to you, then you're likely to develop all kinds of bad habits and negative experiences when you're left to your own devices. Duh. So if reading is hard, teach it - and make sure the practice is practicing the skills being learned and already learned, not just whatever happens to be there. )

There are, finally, some good programs for older learners: Victoria's materials, Language! by SOpris West, Marcia Henry's Patterns for Success (or something like that), Sound Reading, ... wander over to www.rlac.com for a sweet sampling. (www.epsbooks.com is also a good source but they have a fair amount of other materials mixed in so it's harder to ferret out the stuff that will work for our guys).

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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teachMT
Joined Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 3

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Posted:Apr 04, 2006 5:55:52 PM

Thanks for the helpful information. I had already found Resource Room, Sue , and so far it has been the most helpful site I've located. I currently teach Sopris, and love it...but like to have something "fun" and interesting going simultaneously to keep their interest. It helps to have a list to work from, I like to give students choice in what we read together, and also would like to build a list from which they could choose books to read independently (you are soooo right about them looking at books...!) If any other resources come to mind, let me know!

Thanks Again,
Carol

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Apr 04, 2006 6:10:19 PM

Does anybody at your school do Accelerated Reader?

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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teachMT
Joined Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 3

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Posted:Apr 05, 2006 10:24:57 AM

No, and I am not familiar with it. Sounds like I should be?? We are adopting a new reading program for ALL students and looking for materials for different levels...love to hear from ya!

Carol

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Apr 12, 2006 6:27:58 PM

Well, it's a controversial program, be warned!!

It's not an instructional program at all, first.

AR is a program that has students take comprehension tests and get points for them. It can be wonderful when it's used right, because it encourages (or enforces - but sometimes that's exactly what's needed... like that diet we *know* we need) students to read and accumulate those points. I have a good friend who's a middle school librarian who has done worlds of good with it. Studnets set personal goals, and get lots of positive feedback along the way; they learn not to try to read that big honkin' book on the last night ;-)

However, there are serious potential problems, mainly in two areas: lots of teachers still believe that "if you let htem experience good literature, it will turn them into readers" (there's some renowned dude who's pretty much said those exact words). Practice **is** necessary for mastery of a skill... but many of our students also need ***more*** and not less intensive instruction.

The other abuse is that it can end up reducing reading to points. (Many librarians rant and tear their hair about this and assume that somehow the Evil AR can SUCK OUT all joy from reading... to which I say "if Joe already hates reading, it hasn't changed anything... well, except that he hates reading *and* has actually done a lot of it. If Joe loves reading, is taking a test going to make him stop loving it? Is the joy of reading all that tenuous??" However... there are lots of students in the middle for whom AR *has* been presented in a way that means they think reading is this stupid ritual you do for points and they will only read books to score the points, for literal meaning.)

Okay, far more than you probably wanted to know :-) Oh, except that Renaissance Learning is the company that does it (don't know their website offhand but should be searchable), who also recently purchased Alphasmart.

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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