New book releases for Middle School

Cosmic Commandos
by Christopher Eliopoulos
Christopher Eliopoulos, a comic book creator who’s well-known for illustrating the books in Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series, is the talented artist and author behind this fun graphic novel for middle grade readers. Jam-packed with extraordinary hijinks, Cosmic Commandos stars a pair of identical twins who stumble upon a magic ring that allows them to live out a favorite video game in real life. It’s an adventure story that will hook tweens from beginning to end.
(On Sale: 7/4/17)

Lights, Camera, Middle School!
by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm
Middle school is all about fitting in, but Babymouse was born to stand out! What better way to do that than to join film club? With a script in hand, Babymouse sets out to direct their first film … and quickly finds that being a director isn’t as easy as she imagined. Can Babymouse pull it off? With a seamless blend of graphics and prose, this first in a new series promises kids who have grown up loving Babymouse many more hilarious adventures with the lovable character.
(On Sale: 7/4/17)

Walking with Miss Millie
by Tamara Bundy
Alice isn’t at all happy about moving from Columbus, Ohio to boring old Rainbow, Georgia. To make matters worse, she’s been tasked with walking her elderly neighbor’s dog, Clarence, who stubbornly won’t go anywhere without his owner, Miss Millie. Set against the backdrop of the late ’60s, a friendship forms as Alice learns about Miss Millie’s life, including the tragedy and loss she has suffered at the hands of racism. As Miss Millie unravels her story, she shares the ways in which she has overcome pain and anger; sets an example of kindness, generosity, and positive spirit; and inspires Alice to address her own feelings of loss along the way.
(On Sale: 7/4/17)

It All Comes Down to This
by Karen English
This middle grade novel, set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1965 and inspired by real-life events, is already earning a host of starred reviews from the likes of Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. Twelve-year-old Sophie’s life changes when she and her family become the first African Americans to move into their new neighborhood. When riots erupt in nearby Watts, Sophie is forced to think about her place in the world in a whole new way. Balancing humor and a host of relatable issues, English has written a thoughtful and moving coming-of-age tale for tweens.
(On Sale: 7/11/17)

The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide
by Chris Colfer
See how it all wraps up in the final tale in author Chris Colfer’s bestselling Land of Stories series. Things are chaotic — all of the Land of Stories fairy tale characters are no longer confined to their world. Connor and Alex will have to try to win their biggest battle yet and restore order. Expect laughs, plenty of action, and a little sadness that this is the end.
(On Sale: 7/11/17)

Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win
by Rachel Ignotofsky
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Women in Science comes an awesome new anthology featuring fearless females. This time the focus is pioneering female athletes. Ignotofsky highlights the stories of 50 women from the 1800s through today who soared to great heights and broke new ground. Tweens can read about all kinds of athletes — from the well-known gymnastics star Simone Biles to the lesser-known skateboarding pioneer Patti McGee. A great addition to any tween’s bookshelf.
(On Sale: 7/18/17)

Spirit Hunters
by Ellen Oh
Ellen Oh, the author of the YA Prophecy series and cofounder of We Need Diverse Books, launches a new mystery series for middle grade readers with this riveting first installment. Harper Raine’s family just moved into a new house that she’s starting to think is haunted. When her younger brother begins behaving oddly, she knows she has to step in and figure out what ghosts might be hiding in their home.
(On Sale: 7/25/17)

Source: http://www.readbrightly.com/best-childrens-ya-books-july-2017/?sid=302&mcg=4D232B47C9758D8FE0534FD66B0AD50A&ref=PRH0563577803&aid=randohouseinc13256-20&linkid=PRH0563577803&cdi=3799D21575922120E0534FD66B0AEEBE

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Use Leveled Books in Student Led Discussions

Passionate educator and popular author Laura Robb shares her ideas for moving teaching into the age of choice and collaboration!

By Laura Robb

It’s time to let go of 19th-century instructional methods that are alive and well in too many middle school classrooms around our country. Take a deep breath and think of the students sitting in classrooms you know about and consider how well the following practices serve them.

Practice: The entire class reads the same book.

Pitfalls: One book serves the group who can read it. Students who can’t read the book aren’t reading, and those who find it easy aren’t progressing because the book is at their independent reading level.

Practice: The teacher leads a recitation and asks questions that usually have one correct answer, then selects students to respond. Immediately, the teacher moves on to the next question.

Pitfalls: Asking students to answer literal questions doesn’t foster critical and analytical thinking. Moreover, students don’t have opportunities to pose and discuss their own questions.

Practice: Students complete worksheets with multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions.

Pitfalls: Fill-in-the-blanks and multiple choice questions are artificial checks to gauge literal comprehension; they are not authentic responses to reading. Research shows that when students write authentic responses about books they read, their comprehension rises by 24 percent.

Practice: Students sit in rows.

Pitfalls: A hallmark of 21st-century learning is collaboration. Sitting in rows isolates students and discourages generating ideas and discussing worthwhile texts in small groups.

Updating Teaching Practices

You can avoid the pitfalls associated with these traditional methods by implementing robust practices that differentiate instruction so that all students can improve their reading, writing, critical thinking, and collaboration skills.

It’s beneficial to work with a colleague so you can support one another and observe the changes in action when you visit each other’s classrooms. By differentiating reading instruction and inviting students to discuss diverse texts using student-led conversations, you can heighten their ability to analyze texts and hone their critical thinking skill. Let’s break it down.

Differentiating Reading

We need to shift our practice from students reading the same book to students reading books at their instructional reading level. This practice is quite manageable when you offer books at different reading levels that are connected by genre, theme, or topic, enabling students to talk and think together even though they are reading different books. Rather than “covering” a specific book, reading instruction becomes focused on the ideas you want students to understand.

For example, Ms. Galloway’s eighth grade class was reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Out of 27 students, 10 could read and comprehend the book. However, when I asked her what she wanted students to learn from that book, she said, “I want them to understand what it was like for African Americans before civil rights.”

Armed with her idea, Ms. Galloway and I found several books that met the instructional reading levels of her students and addressed her target concepts. Differentiation enabled every student to reflect on life in the South prior to civil rights legislation using a text he or she could read — and every student could contribute to a meaningful, collaborative discussion on the topic. Here’s our list with lexile levels:

And here are some tips for developing units with diverse texts that reach every reader in your class.

Tip 1: Identify the idea(s) you want students to explore as they read.

Tip 2: Ask your school and community librarians to find books related to these ideas on the reading levels of students in your class.

Tip 3: Organize stacks of books on the same reading level. Invite students to browse through the books at their instructional reading level and choose one to read.

Tip 4: Chunk books by having students read three to four chapters, then stop to hold a partner or small group student-led discussion on that section.

Student-Led Literary Conversations

A powerful form of thinking and communicating, student-led conversations can last from five to 15 minutes and bring social interactions to students’ learning. When students are in charge of discussing books they selected and can read, motivation and engagement soar. These conversations develop critical thinking and strong communication skills as students practice framing responses to peers that represent their ideas with clarity.

Have students take turns volunteering to be the group’s leader. The primary job of the leader is to maintain the forward motion of the discussion by using prompts such as:

  • Can you provide text evidence?
  • Does anyone have a different idea?
  • Can you elaborate further on that point?
  • How does that relate to what (another student) said?
  • Can you link that idea to a teacher’s read-aloud?

Open-Ended Ways to Discuss Diverse Books

Students can use literary elements, themes, ideas, and genre structure to discuss different books.

Explore Literary Elements. Have students identify the protagonist and several problems he or she faces; antagonists and how each works against the protagonist; conflicts, themes, and how other characters affect the protagonist.

Focus on Genre. Ask students to discuss genre structure. For example, for realistic fiction they can discuss what makes the characters and plot realistic. For science fiction they can reflect on the warnings about present-day society and/or technology that the author presents.

Think Through Themes. Have students provide examples of unit themes such as obstacles the person or character faces and whether he or she overcomes these. Or ask students to define stereotyping and offer theme statements that are examples of this from their books.

Assessing Discussions

You can observe one to two discussions during a 45-minute class period. Students can also write several key points from a discussion in their readers’ notebooks and/or evaluate the discussions by writing about specific examples raised during the discussion. Encourage self-reflection using these questions: Did I participate? Did I cite evidence? Did I listen carefully? What did I learn about my book? About a different book? About literary elements? About genre? About theme?

It’s helpful to have students compose open-ended, interpretive questions that apply to any text. Interpretive questions have two or more answers. Verb such as why, how, explain, compare, contrast, evaluate can signal an open-ended query. Have students test each question by finding two responses the text supports. Once they’ve identified two different responses, they can compose another question.

By posting questions on a whiteboard, students can choose those that work for their texts or link to a specific area such as theme or genre structure.

You can also ask students to develop queries that lead to self-evaluation and add to them or adjust them throughout the year.

Closing Thoughts

When you incorporate student-led literary conversations, you inspire students to read, talk, and write about texts they choose. Remember, a student-centered approach builds a community of learners who collaborate and support one another. The result? Students improve as readers, writers, communicators, and critical thinkers.

____________

Author, teacher, coach, and speaker Laura Robb has more than 40 years teaching experience in grades 4-8 and now works with school districts to train teachers. You can learn more about student-led conversations in her latest book, Read, Talk, Write: 35 Lessons That Teach Students to Analyze Fiction and Nonfiction. Her 25+ books also include Unlocking Complex Texts and Vocabulary Is Comprehension

 

https://www.middleweb.com/34980/hold-collaborative-chats-about-differentiated-books/

Read Alikes for Percy Jackson

Books Like Percy Jackson:
11 Super Series to Read Next

by Devon Corneal

Find info here: http://www.readbrightly.com/books-like-percy-jackson/

There’s a lot for young readers to love in Rick Riordan’s novels — wise-cracking kid protagonists with cool powers, modern life layered with ancient myths, seemingly impossible quests, and insurmountable odds — and kids burn through them faster than he can pen new ones. If you know a middle grade reader who has already finished the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, tackled the Kane Chronicles, and caught up with the latest Magnus Chase book … never fear, we’re here to help! We’ve picked a few series featuring a new cast of characters that are sure to help tide over even the most dedicated of Percy Jackson fans.

  • Seven Wonders Series

    by Peter Lerangis

    This series is kid-tested and mother-approved. My son can’t put the first book in The Seven Wonders series down and I love that he’s begging to stay up late to read it again. This five-book series begins on Jack McKinley’s 13th birthday — when he discovers he only has a few months to live unless he can find the magic Loculi hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

  • Mark of the Thief Trilogy

    by Jennifer Nielsen

    Nic was only sent down into the cave to search for gold from Julius Caesar’s treasure, but when he finds a magical amulet that belonged to the emperor, his days as a slave for the Roman Empire will soon be over. Or so he thinks. As the holder of the amulet, Nic suddenly possesses new magical powers, but whether he can control them is another matter entirely.

  • Will Wilder Series

    by Raymond Arroyo

    Twelve-year-olds get into a lot of trouble, but not many of them manage to unleash an ancient enemy determined to destroy their hometown. Although, when the name of your town is “Perilous Falls,” bad things are bound to happen. Thank goodness Will Wilder has his great-aunt Lucille to help him fix things. She may look sweet, but she’s deadly and happens to be the curator of a museum of supernatural artifacts. Demons and monsters, beware!

  • The Blackwell Pages Series

    by K.L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr

    If your favorite Rick Riordan character is Magnus Chase, and not Percy Jackson, this series may be for you. Set in South Dakota, the first book in this trilogy introduces readers to Matt Thorsen, a descendant of Thor and soon-to-be slayer of monsters and trolls. And just to keep things interesting, Ragnarök is coming and, unless Matt and his friends find Thor’s hammer and shield, this time it really will be the end of the world.

  • The Cronus Chronicles Trilogy

    by Anne Usru

    Charlotte Mielswetzski and her cousin Zee have to find out what’s making their friends sick, but things don’t go quite according to plan. First they end up in the Underworld and then discover that the world as we know it is filled with Nightmares, Pain, and Death. To make matters worse, Charlotte and Zee learn that it’s up to them to save everyone on Earth and in the Underworld. No biggie. Easy peasy.

  • Gods of Manhattan Series

    by Scott Mebus

    New York City is cool, but nothing special, right? That’s what Rory Hennessy thought until he discovers Mannahatta, a parallel city existing with Manhattan that’s filled with magic and mystery and ruled by the Gods of Manhattan, which, oddly enough, include Babe Ruth. When Rory is asked to right a great wrong, things become more dangerous than he ever imagined.

  • Theodosia Throckmorton Series

    by R.L. LeFevers

    Theodosia Throckmorton spends a lot of time at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities. It’s not always fun, especially since she’s the only one who can see the black magic and curses enveloping the museum’s collection. To protect her father, the museum’s curator, and the rest of the staff, Theodosia must call on ancient Egyptian magic to remove the evil forces around every corner.

  • Children of the Lamp Series

    by P.B. Kerr

    Twins John and Philippa Gaunt are descended from genies — well, djinn to be exact. Yes, they can grant wishes and make things disappear. But they don’t know how to control that power, until they meet their Uncle Nimrod. After that, things get really interesting.

  • Addison Cooke Series

    by Jonathan W. Stokes

    I kid you not, my son read this book in two days. It was the first book he deemed worthy of the devotion he showed to Percy Jackson and Rick Riordan’s multiple universes. So thank you, Addison Cooke and your Incan adventures, for reminding me that action, humor, and a sarcastic 12-year-old boy is all a parent needs to remind her son why he loves to read. Now we just have to wait for Addison Cooke and The Tomb of Khan to come out in September 2017!

  • Bartimaeus Trilogy

    by Jonathan Stroud

    Everyone knows that the sorcerer’s apprentice always gets in trouble, and Nathaniel is no different. To get revenge on a ruthless wizard, Nathaniel summons the powerful djinni Bartimaeus. But he soon learns he can’t control him and finds himself trapped in a circle of betrayal and murder.

  • Atlantis Saga Series

    by T. A. Barron

    We’ve covered Norse, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman mythology, touched on genies, and sought out Incan treasures — but let’s not forget about the Lost City of Atlantis. The first book in the Atlantis Saga series opens in Ellegandia, where a young boy named Promi and his friend Atlanta join together to save their home from the ravages of a war between the spirit and human worlds.

What Doesn’t Work: Literacy Practices We Should Abandon

JUNE 3, 2016

The number one concern that I hear from educators is lack of time, particularly lack of instructional time with students. It’s not surprising that we feel a press for time. Our expectations for students have increased dramatically, but our actual class time with students has not. Although we can’t entirely solve the time problem, we can mitigate it by carefully analyzing our use of class time, looking for what Beth Brinkerhoff and Alysia Roehrig (2014) call “time wasters.”

Consider the example of calendar time. In many U.S. early elementary classrooms, this practice eats up 15-20 minutes daily, often in a coveted early-morning slot when students are fresh and attentive. Some calendar time activities may be worthwhile. For example, teachers might use this time for important teaching around grouping and place value. But other activities are questionable at best. For example, is the following routine still effective if it’s already February and your students still don’t know:

Yesterday was _______.
Today is _______.
Tomorrow will be _______,

Does dressing a teddy bear for the weather each day make optimal use of instructional time? Some teachers respond, “But we love our teddy bear, and it only takes a few minutes!” But three minutes a day for 180 days adds up to nine hours. Children would also love engineering design projects, deep discussions of texts they’ve read, or math games.

5 Less-Than-Optimal Practices

To help us analyze and maximize use of instructional time, here are five common literacy practices in U.S. schools that research suggests are not optimal use of instructional time:

1. “Look Up the List” Vocabulary Instruction

Students are given a list of words to look up in the dictionary. They write the definition and perhaps a sentence that uses the word. What’s the problem?

We have long known that this practice doesn’t build vocabulary as well as techniques that actively engage students in discussing and relating new words to known words, for example through semantic mapping (Bos & Anders, 1990). As Charlene Cobb and Camille Blachowicz (2014) document, research has revealed so many effective techniques for teaching vocabulary that a big challenge now is deciding among them.

2. Giving Students Prizes for Reading

From March is Reading Month to year-long reading incentive programs, it’s common practice in the U.S. to give students prizes (such as stickers, bracelets, and fast food coupons) for reading. What’s the problem?

Unless these prizes are directly related to reading (e.g., books), this practice actually makes students less likely to choose reading as an activity in the future (Marinak & Gambrell, 2008). It actually undermines reading motivation. Opportunities to interact with peers around books, teacher “book blessings,” special places to read, and many other strategies are much more likely to foster long-term reading motivation (Marinak & Gambrell, 2016).

3. Weekly Spelling Tests

Generally, all students in a class receive a single list of words on Monday and are expected to study the words for a test on Friday. Distribution of the words, in-class study time, and the test itself use class time. What’s the problem?

You’ve all seen it — students who got the words right on Friday misspell those same words in their writing the following Monday! Research suggests that the whole-class weekly spelling test is much less effective than an approach in which different students have different sets of words depending on their stage of spelling development, and emphasis is placed on analyzing and using the words rather than taking a test on them (see Palmer & Invernizzi, 2015 for a review).

4. Unsupported Independent Reading

DEAR (Drop Everything and Read), SSR (Sustained Silent Reading), and similar approaches provide a block of time in which the teacher and students read books of their choice independently. Sounds like a great idea, right?

Studies have found that this doesn’t actually foster reading achievement. To make independent reading worthy of class time, it must include instruction and coaching from the teacher on text selection and reading strategies, feedback to students on their reading, and text discussion or other post-reading response activities (for example, Kamil, 2008; Reutzel, Fawson, & Smith, 2008; see Miller & Moss, 2013 for extensive guidance on supporting independent reading).

5. Taking Away Recess as Punishment

What is this doing on a list of literacy practices unworthy of instructional time? Well, taking away recess as a punishment likely reduces students’ ability to benefit from literacy instruction. How?

There is a considerable body of research linking physical activity to academic learning. For example, one action research study found that recess breaks before or after academic lessons led to students being more on task (Fagerstrom & Mahoney, 2006). Students with ADHD experience reduced symptoms when they engage in physical exercise (Pontifex et al., 2012) — ironic given that students with ADHD are probably among the most likely to have their recess taken away. There are alternatives to taking away recess that are much more effective and don’t run the risk of reducing students’ attention to important literacy instruction (Cassetta & Sawyer, 2013).

Measure of Success

Whether or not you engage in these specific activities, they provide a sense that there are opportunities to make better use of instructional time in U.S. schools. I encourage you to scrutinize your use of instructional time minute by minute. If a practice is used because we’ve always done it that way or because parents expect it, it’s especially worthy of a hard look. At the same time, if a practice consistently gets results in an efficient and engaging way, protect it at all costs. Together we can rid U.S. classrooms of what does notwork.

Notes

  • Bos, C.S. & Anders, P.L. (1990). “Effects of interactive vocabulary instruction on the vocabulary learning and reading comprehension of junior-high learning-disabled students.” Learning Disability Quarterly, 13, pp.31-42.
  • Brinkerhoff, E.H. & Roehrig, A.D. (2014). No more sharpening pencils during work time and other time wasters. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Cassetta, G. & Sawyer, B. (2013). No more taking away recess and other problematic discipline practices. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Cobb, C. & Blachowicz, C. (2014). No more “look up the list” vocabulary instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Fagerstrom, T. & Mahoney, K. (2006). “Give me a break! Can strategic recess scheduling increase on-task behaviour for first graders?” Ontario Action Researcher, 9(2).
  • Kamil, M.L. (2008). “How to get recreational reading to increase reading achievement.” In 57th Yearbook of the National Reading Conference, pp.31-40. Oak Creek, WI: National Reading Conference.
  • Marinak, B.A. & Gambrell, L. (2016). No more reading for junk: Best practices for motivating readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Miller, D. & Moss, B. (2013). No more independent reading without support. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Palmer, J.L. & Invernizzi, M. (2015). No more spelling and phonics worksheets. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Pontifex, M.B., Saliba, B.J., Raine, L.B., Picchietti, D.L., & Hillman, C.H. (2012). “Exercise improves behavioral, neurocognitive, and scholastic performance in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” The Journal of Pediatrics, 162(3), pp.543-551.
  • Reutzel, D.R., Fawson, P., & Smith, J. (2008). “Reconsidering silent sustained reading: An exploratory study of scaffolded silent reading.”Journal of Educational Research, 102, pp.37–50.

Source: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/literacy-practices-we-should-abandon-nell-k-duke

How I Know My Students Are Reading at Home

 

I remember the reading logs well, my brothers hastily whipping them out Sunday night asking my mom to sign off that they had read x number of minutes.  My mother never checked, she did not want to be the reading police, after all, she knew my brothers read.  She didn’t care how many minutes or which book, all that mattered was that at some point their eyes met something to read. A great post by Angela Watson got me thinking, how do I know my students are reading if I don’t check their reading log?  How do I know that at some point their eyes meet a text?  There are many ways actually.

  • I watch their reaction.  Kids who read want independent reading time.  Kids who are in a great part of a book want time to find out what will happen next.  Kids who slowly get their reading bin, who distract others on the way; those are the kids I need to check in with and help.
  • I keep an eye on their book bin.  A whole book shelf in my room is the proof that my students read.  Periodically I go look through their bins, noting which books a kid has and whether those book have changed.  If they haven’t, I check in with that child.
  • We recommend.  Another favorite in our room is the speed book dating.  We quickly rattle off a book we love and why it should be read while the listener has their “I can’t wait to read ” list in their hand.
  • We show off our reading.  I have my reading door outside of the room so that my students always know what I am reading and my students can recommend books on a bulletin board.  Our reading is visible.
  • We discuss.  Reading should not be a solitary endeavor so we make time to discuss our books and why they are the best or the worst book ever.
  • We reflect.  I often ask students to tie in today’s teaching point with whatever they are reading right now.  Whether it is in our thoughtful logs or on a post-it, students take a moment to think and apply and once again lets me see what they are reading.
  • We do monthly reading reflections.  This year I really wanted to have a open dialogue with the students in regard to their reading life and although I do constant one on one or small group instruction, I wanted something more formal that I could file away and look at when needed.  My students know they are not judged on what they write but rather that I use it as a way to start a conversation with them.  I always appreciate their honesty and my actions show that.
  • We have great books.  If you want kids to read, have great books.  I do not know how much money I spend a year on books, I know it is a lot, but every time I am able to booktalk a book and see the reaction in my kids, it is worth it.  Couple that with an incredbile librarian and my students are pretty lucky in the book department.
  • I lose a lot of books.  Because I encourage my students to take our books home to read, I inevitably lose a lot of books.  While it is hard to think of it from a financial standpoint, I also know that hose books are being read by someone.  So yes, it is hard to constantly replace books (and expensive) but it is something that goes along with being a reading classroom.

So yes, while my district mandates a reading log, it is not the treasure trove of information that I need.  What I need is conversation, observation, reflection, and interaction.  So how do I know my students read?  I ask them and listen.

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

 

Source: https://pernillesripp.com/2014/05/25/2228/

11 Alternatives to “Round Robin” (and “Popcorn”) Reading

DECEMBER 1, 2014

Round Robin Reading (RRR) has been a classroom staple for over 200 years and an activity that over half of K-8 teachers report using in one of its many forms, such as Popcorn Reading. RRR’s popularity endures, despite overwhelming criticism that the practice is ineffective for its stated purpose: enhancing fluency, word decoding, and comprehension. Cecile Somme echoes that perspective in Popcorn Reading: The Need to Encourage Reflective Practice: “Popcorn reading is one of the sure-fire ways to get kids who are already hesitant about reading to really hate reading.”

Facts About Round Robin Reading

In RRR, students read orally from a common text, one child after another, while the rest of the class follows along in their copies of the text. Several spinoffs of the technique offer negligible advantages over RRR, if any. They simply differ in how the reading transition occurs:

  • Popcorn Reading: A student reads orally for a time, and then calls out “popcorn” before selecting another student in class to read.
  • Combat Reading: A kid nominates a classmate to read in the attempt to catch a peer off task, explains Gwynne Ash and Melanie Kuhn in their chapter of Fluency Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices.
  • Popsicle Stick Reading: Student names are written on Popsicle sticks and placed in a can. The learner whose name is drawn reads next.
  • Touch Go Reading: As described by Professor Cecile Somme, the instructor taps a child when it’s his or her turn to read.

Of the thirty-odd studies and articles I’ve consumed on the subject, only one graduate research paper claimed a benefit to RRR or its variations, stating tepidly that perhaps RRR isn’t as awful as everyone says. Katherine Hilden and Jennifer Jones’ criticism is unmitigated: “We know of no research evidence that supports the claim that RRR actually contributes to students becoming better readers, either in terms of their fluency or comprehension.” (PDF)

Why all the harshitude? Because Round Robin Reading . . .

  • Stigmatizes poor readers. Imagine the terror that English-language learners and struggling readers face when made to read in front of an entire class.
  • Weakens comprehension. Listening to a peer orally read too slowly, too fast, or too haltingly weakens learners’ comprehension — a problem exacerbated by turn-taking interruptions.
  • Sabotages fluency and pronunciation. Struggling readers model poor fluency skills and pronunciation. When instructors correct errors, fluency is further compromised.

To be clear, oral reading does improve fluency, comprehension and word recognition (though silent/independent reading should occur far more frequently as students advance into the later grades). Fortunately, other oral reading activities offer significant advantages over RRR and its cousins. As you’ll see in the list below, many of them share similar features.

11 Better Approaches

1. Choral Reading

The teacher and class read a passage aloud together, minimizing struggling readers’ public exposure. In a 2011 study of over a hundred sixth graders (PDF, 232KB), David Paige found that 16 minutes of whole-class choral reading per week enhanced decoding and fluency. In another version, every time the instructor omits a word during her oral reading, students say the word all together.

2. Partner Reading

Two-person student teams alternate reading aloud, switching each time there is a new paragraph. Or they can read each section at the same time.

3. PALS

The Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) exercises pair strong and weak readers who take turns reading, re-reading, and retelling.

4. Silent Reading

For added scaffolding, frontload silent individual reading with vocabulary instruction, a plot overview, an anticipation guide, or KWL+ activity.

5. Teacher Read Aloud

This activity, says Julie Adams of Adams Educational Consulting, is “perhaps one of the most effective methods for improving student fluency and comprehension, as the teacher is the expert in reading the text and models how a skilled reader reads using appropriate pacing and prosody (inflection).” Playing an audiobook achieves similar results.

6. Echo Reading

Students “echo” back what the teacher reads, mimicking her pacing and inflections.

7. Shared Reading/Modeling

By reading aloud while students follow along in their own books, theinstructor models fluency, pausing occasionally to demonstrate comprehension strategies. (PDF, 551KB)

8. The Crazy Professor Reading Game

Chris Biffle’s Crazy Professor Reading Game video (start watching at 1:49) is more entertaining than home movies of Blue Ivy. To bring the text to life, students . . .

  • Read orally with hysterical enthusiasm
  • Reread with dramatic hand gestures
  • Partner up with a super-stoked question asker and answerer
  • Play “crazy professor” and “eager student” in a hyped-up overview of the text.

9. Buddy Reading

Kids practice orally reading a text in preparation for reading to an assigned buddy in an earlier grade.

10. Timed Repeat Readings

This activity can aid fluency, according to literacy professors Katherine Hilden and Jennifer Jones (PDF, 271KB). After an instructor reads (with expression) a short text selection appropriate to students’ reading level (90-95 percent accuracy), learners read the passage silently, then again loudly, quickly, and dynamically. Another kid graphs the times and errors so that children can track their growth.

11. FORI

With Fluency-Oriented Reading Instruction (FORI), primary students read the same section of a text many times over the course of a week (PDF, 54KB). Here are the steps:

  1. The teacher reads aloud while students follow along in their books.
  2. Students echo read.
  3. Students choral read.
  4. Students partner read.
  5. The text is taken home if more practice is required, and extension activities can be integrated during the week.

I hope that the activities described above — in addition to other well-regarded strategies, like reciprocal teaching, reader’s theater, and radio reading — can serve as simple replacements to Round Robin Reading in your classroom.

Tell us your favorite fluency or comprehension activity.

Source: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/alternatives-to-round-robin-reading-todd-finley

Lesson Plans from The Learning Network: NY Times

Year-End Roundup, 2015-16 | All Our Lesson Plans, All in One Place

Photo

Kathryn Rosnau, a member of this year’s <a href="http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/05/introducing-the-final-projects-from-our-teenage-student-council/">Student Council</a>, reads The Times as a regular part of her homeschooling, and <a href="http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/20/reader-idea-a-home-schooled-teenager-on-learning-with-the-times/">wrote about it</a> for the blog.
Kathryn Rosnau, a member of this year’s Student Council, reads The Times as a regular part of her homeschooling, and wrote about it for the blog.Credit Kathryn Rosnau
Lesson Plans - The Learning NetworkLesson Plans - The Learning Network

CURRENT EVENTS

Teaching ideas based on New York Times content.

At the end of every academic year, we collect all the lesson plans we’ve published and list them in a kind of directory for teachers.

Below, you’ll find our 2015-16 offerings, but to scroll through all our roundup posts since 2010, just click here.

This year, we also featured a number of experimental educational features beyond our traditional lesson plans. Though they are not included in the lists below, you can find them here:

Happy summer, and let us know what topics you’d like us to take on in academic year 2016-17.


English Language Arts

Literature and Poetry

Video

Harper Lee, 1926- 2016

Harper Lee, whose first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about racial injustice in a small Alabama town, sold more than 40 million copies, died at the age of 89.

By JOHN WOO, NEIL COLLIER and MONA EL-NAGGAR on Publish DateFebruary 19, 2016. Photo by Donald Uhrbrock/The LIFE Images Collection, via Getty Images.

Teaching ‘Mockingbird,’ ‘Watchman’ and Harper Lee With The New York Times

Text to Text | ‘Antigone’ and Noche Flamenca’s ‘Antigona’

Text to Text | ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ and ‘On the Reservation and Off, Schools See a Changing Tide’

Reader Idea | Reading ‘Macbeth’ Through the Lens of Ferguson

What’s Going On in This Poem? | ‘Taking It Home to Jerome’

What’s Going On in This Poem? Exploring Poetry Through Open-Ended Questions

I Remember: Teaching About the Role of Memory Across the Curriculum

Literacy Skills and Strategies

Photo

What can you infer from this photo?
What can you infer from this photo?Credit Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Skills and Strategies | Making Inferences

Skills and Strategies | Annotating to Engage, Analyze, Connect and Create

Skills and Strategies | Fake News vs. Real News: Determining the Reliability of Sources

Skills and Strategies | Understanding Plagiarism in a Digital Age

Skills and Strategies | Doodling, Sketching and ‘Mind Mapping’ as Learning Tools

Skills and Strategies | Exit Slips

Before, During and After: Strategies From Our News Q’s Feature for Reading Nonfiction

Skills and Strategies | The Four-Corners Exercise to Inspire Writing and Discussion

8 Compelling Mini-Documentaries to Teach Close Reading and Critical Thinking Skills

Reader Idea | An Argument-Writing Unit: Crafting Student Editorials

Thinking Critically: Reading and Writing Culture Reviews

 

 

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/06/14/year-end-roundup-2015-16-all-our-lesson-plans-all-in-one-place/?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ln_20160616&nl=learning-network&nl_art=2&nlid=72940163&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0