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newbergd 01-30-2013 09:56 AM

For those with a 45-50 minute class period-What do you do to build reading skills?
I have only a 50 minute class period with about 21 students in each class. The majority of my students are reading 2 to 3 years below grade level with a sprinkling of on or above grade level in each class.

I have implemented a good independent reading program to get students reading more.

I am interested in hearing about what others do to raise test scores and to reading levels.

What does your daily schedule look like? What do you do and use?

maryteach 02-20-2013 09:14 PM

You know what's pretty effective
is an interactive read aloud. You need a class set of the book you're using. You read, they follow. THEY MUST FOLLOW. No one is allowed to simply listen. You want them to follow because they get better at reading when they're going along with you, at your fluent pace, observing punctuation (and you, of course, are a WONDERFUL oral reader--very important. My kids tell me, "Miss, you're a good actor!") They pick up a lot of incidental vocabulary this way, as well.

Of course, you're going to still have them do their independent reading, but you could do the interactive for about twenty minutes a period. They need to answer questions, or do some writing as you go, naturally.

My schedule varies greatly, depending upon what we're doing, but I suggest:

Journal response to a prompt to open class--complete paragraph required (10 minutes)

Lesson on whatever you're working on, 20 minutes

Interactive read aloud (20 minutes)

You know there's going to be about 3-5 minutes of transition in there. I tell them to mailbox whatever they're working on, grab a copy of our book, and sit back down by the count of 10. 1, 2, 3......

newbergd 02-21-2013 02:11 PM

Does the prompt...
Does the prompt go with what you are reading aloud? I am guessing that they would have comprehension/vocabulary questions to answer that go with the story?

maryteach 02-22-2013 07:56 AM

The prompt is short and easy
Well, it doesn't sound like you have a lot of time, but you don't really need it. I stop and say, "One sentence, right now--what should this character do?"

Other prompts:

What do you think will happen?
What would you say to this character if you were the main character?
Is it okay for this character to do this/act this way? Why or why not?
Look again at this sentence, and especially this word in the sentence. Use the context; what does it mean?

Just be spontaneous; whatever comes up in today's reading is what I will ask you. Maybe today you just get asked one, maybe tomorrow it's three. I just ask for a sentence, though.

I can always use the daily journal prompt at the beginning of class to have them elaborate and make a paragraph out of any of my questions.

I'm not going to kill a read aloud with much more than that. When we're doing independent reading, in reader's workshop or book circles, that's where I come up with more, but really not tons more. It really is important that we collect evidence that they can evaluate characters, articulate theme, do words in context, make predictions, all of that. They just don't have to have lots and lots of it. You can really gauge where they're at with a few well thought-out questions. I always make them write their answer, though, whether I'm asking for a paragraph or just a sentence. Never, ever do I have them draw lines between words and definitions or answer multiple choice questions (yes, I know that's what happens on the state test, but the state test doesn't measure knowledge, just socioeconomic status. My district is really poor, and our scores suck--but my children are good readers because they come up with their own answers instead of choosing one).

Teaching reading is my absolute favorite thing to do.

newbergd 02-22-2013 03:32 PM

Thank you! It sounds like we're in the same boat as far as our districts go and the state test. I have turned some very reluctant readers onto reading and I also have them write out their answers. They are becoming better readers, but the state scores are still in the toilet. I can see the growth, but it does not show on those darned convoluted tests! By looking at the scores alone, you would think we hadn't been doing anything all year long. It can be disconcerting to say the least.

maryteach 02-22-2013 05:20 PM

and that's what reform banks on. You and I know that test scores show socioeconomic status and NOTHING ELSE. Your practice sounds excellent and you sound like a wonderful teacher. Don't beat yourself up over scores that you really can't influence all that much (and if you really brought their scores up, that would actually mean that you'd probably stopped teaching and were just doing test prep and lower level thought--multiple choice, etc.).

Tulips 04-02-2013 12:21 PM

Good thread!
I found some good ideas here!


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