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teachnbehappy 08-02-2012 03:46 PM

Basal Readers- how do you use them?
Hello All-

I have a small problem that I could use your help with. This past year I made the mistake of passing out my basals to my students without assigning them a number for it. So I had FIVE go "missing" after the students took them home and such for homework. As you all know, we are moving to common core this year and I'm actually thinking about not using the basal very often this year. I don't think our principal would be up to buying five new text books. So my question to you is this- HOW do you use the basal in your classroom, if you use it at all. Do you allow the students to take them home? Do you use other resources? Also, do you think that I could actually get away with being five books short? What would you do in this situation...

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1956BD 08-02-2012 03:58 PM

I bet you can survive without them
You could have students read in pairs or you could have a time schedule where some are reading while others are doing something else. Then they can trade.

If it becomes a problem you may have to order books to replace those lost. Surely the school has some funds for this kind of thing.

I use the basal and novels. Plus I use Studies Weekly for much of my nonfiction teaching.

The basal does not go home in my classroom unless someone is absent for several days.

Good luck!

TeachFun 08-02-2012 04:47 PM

I have never sent my Basals home. Well, maybe a time or two with families I could trust to return them, if they were out of town and needed make-up work.

I agree with 1956BD - have some kids partner up. I've done that when we've been short.

Do you have a document camera? You could project the reader with that. Our Basal is available for smartboard projection. I usually project the story and give the students the choice of reading from the SB or from a text. Many of them prefer the SB. A document camera would provide similar projection for you.

ConnieWI 08-02-2012 05:58 PM

Have you checked on-line to see if the five texts you need are available on e-bay? Sometimes districts or individuals are trying to sell things like this. I can tell you have learned your lesson about numbering books and giving them to children with the same number.

When using a basal, not all students should be reading the same story at the same time. They should be reading stories at their guided reading level in small groups.

I would go through the basal and get a guided reading level for each story. Maybe this is already done for you in your teacher's edition.

I have not used a basal for twenty-five years, but I would bet most of the stories are taken from published a story by Tomie DePaola. Go to the Scholastic website. They have a tool called Book Wizard. This will help you get the guided reading level for each of the stories.

If you do not have levels on your independent reading classroom library, you will also want to get guided reading levels on these books. You can arrange the books in your classroom library by boxes with certain genres, authors, topics like sharks, dinosaurs, etc., and guided reading level for those books that do not fit into the other categories. I write the guided reading level inside the back cover of the book, and students have to check that it is their just right level before choosing it. That way, your students can make smart choices for their book boxes based on their reading level.

When you go to your school library for weekly check-out, have your students read a page aloud to you before checking-out a book. This way you will know if it is the just right book for them.

You could also use basal stories as text for reading mini-lessons you are teaching. If there is a story that is particularly good at predicting, you could read part of this story aloud to practice predicting with your students. After you model this reading strategy, students could use the basal story to practice the strategy with a partner.

Another thing you could do with basal stories is use them to build fluency. Students could use them for repeated readings with a partner.

Basal stories, at the right guided reading level, could also be used for partner reading.

Do you have multiple copies of trade books? If so, you can use these for your guided reading groups. You probably need about six copies of six titles for each of your guided reading levels, or maybe your school has a book room where you can borrow these books.

If you plan to begin making a collection of trade books, be sure your students place book orders each month. Then you can use your book order points to begin your collection of trade books.

Ms.SB 08-02-2012 07:14 PM

mini lesson text and sub work
I have been phasing out the basal for the past few years. If I like the story, I will use it as a read aloud to model a skill for mini lessons. That's about the extent that *I* use it.

However, that is my go-to for when I'm out and leave work for a sub. I will often assign a story to read and a graphic organizer to do, along with the questions at the end for subs to do with the class when I'm out. I ask the sub to read it aloud and have the kids follow along in case the story is too high for some kids.

teachnbehappy 08-02-2012 09:37 PM

Thank you!
I loved all the input! It was so helpful.

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