Saturday, April 07, 2007

GIVING NEW READERS A DIET OF MORE THAN LEVELED BOOKS

I just wrote an article for Choice Literacy about the limits of leveled books. It includes a booklist of great books for new readers if you are interested. Here is the beginning of it.


GIVING NEW READERS A DIET OF MORE THAN LEVELED BOOKS

I am going on another diet. Not one of my favorite things, but something I have to do. I know that for the diet to last through all of the weight I need to lose, I need a little variety. I can't eat lettuce, grilled chicken and oatmeal for months at a time. When I have gone on diets without variety, I have always ended up deciding that I'd rather just be a little plump. It isn't really worth it.

I am wondering if this is the same thing that our youngest readers feel when they are given only a diet of leveled books. I wonder if after months and months of leveled books as their only independent reading material, they feel as we chronic dieters do. Do they watch other students in the room reading "real books" in the same way that we watch size 5 colleagues in the lounge eating brownies? Do they think maybe they'd just rather not be readers?
(Click here for the rest of the article on the Choice Literacy Website.)

5 comments:

  1. Susan2:28 PM

    Franki, wonderful recommendations! Thank you. I read with some 1st graders who are reading below grade level, and some of the levelled books, well, yeesh.

    We just read one last week about a boy's visit to the dentist (the "ow" sound was the focus), and the boy loved every minute of it, didn't say "ouch" or "shout," and the shot (of novacaine) didn't hurt a bit.

    Much of the book just didn't seem at all true, unlike other wonderful literature out there. Look at what exquisite work other authors do with word limitations--James Marshall, Arnold Lobel, and so on.

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  2. Anonymous2:30 PM

    I loved this article! There is more to learning to read than just leveled books. As a first grade teacher, I am reminded of the importance of introducing and reading again and again the picture books that contain supports early readers need. I am anxious to read the books you have had success with at home. A favorite at my house and in my room is Each Peach Pear Plumb. Thanks!

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  3. I'm just getting to this stage with my son. Thanks for the great list!

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  4. Thank you *so much* for this article. Aside from my professional interest, this is exactly how I think my 6-year-old daughter (narratively sophisticated, smart, and taking her time learning to decode) has felt about books all year; it's painful to watch her struggle to get through bland, boring books that we both know aren't worth the effort. She's just now getting to where she can read "Frog and Toad" level books. It's been a long year!

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  5. You know my thoughts on this subject already. Thanks for a great article.

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