Category Archives: Reading

#SOL19: Words Count


“I’m done.  I read from the green to the red and back. I’m done,” echoed from Joey’s corner.  Abbie, with her back to Joey, kept reading.

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Demonstration Reading Mat

Joey pulled out the slip and a pencil. He started counting. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”

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He wrote a “10” under Monday in both blanks because he had read 10 books twice. Abbie was still reading. Joey started going through his stack. He knew he needed to choose partner reading books. He picked up several books. He read two from the first page to the end and put both of them in a pile to read with Abbie.

As Abbie picked up her recording slip, she recorded “10”, “10” and quickly chose her last two books for her partner reading books. (Noted: Efficient use of time) Abbie and Joey turned side by side, chorally read all four books and both recorded 4 books under Partner on the recording slip.

DATA:

Abbie read 24 “E level books” ranging from 100-125 words.

  • Total words read = 2400 – 3000.

Joey also recorded 24 books but actually read 26 ranging from 100-125 words.

  • Total words read = 2600 – 3250.

Reading Volume: Why is it important?  

Gladwell’s research found experts put in approximately 10,000 hours of practice in order to be experts. What expertise do our students when they graduate from high school?  Working with some “round numbers” let’s consider the total number of hours a student spends in school.

6 hours each day x 180 days each year x 13 years (K-12)  =  14,040 total hours

Understanding that some instructional time will be lost. Lunch. Recess. Early outs. Late starts. Fire drills. Tornado drills. Active shooter drills. Assemblies. Field trips. I’m sure you can add to the list of what interrupts instructional time.

10,000 hours = experts so student expertise at graduation must be in “being students” as they haven’t had 10,000 hours to be readers, writers, listeners, talkers, thinkers, AND mathematicians, social scientists, scientists and fine arts experts.

Why does it matter?

Consider first graders Abbie and Joey in late September. Their books are primarily a Level E in order to concentrate practice with fairly predictable text to build accuracy, fluency and automaticity as well as confidence and independence.

Joey is in an intervention group where he chooses 5 of the books and often practices a shared reading from his classroom. 6 more books = a range of 600 – 650 more words.  Total today from 32 books = 3200 – 3900 words.

Is the difference in words read an inequity?

Before your eyes glaze over . . . Over the course of the week, the potential discrepancy will widen; the range for Abbie may be 12,000-15,000 words read in a week while Joey may read 16,000-19,500 words. Is it “fair” or “equitable” that Joey may read about another day’s worth of words during the week.

Here’s what you need to know about Joey:  No one at home reads in English. Joey is deliberately scheduled for extra practice at school to maintain a high reading volume.

Our first draft question:  What is the range in daily reading volume (books/words read) that builds successful habits, joy, competence and confidence in fall of first grade?

How do you check in on reading volume?

How do you make decisions about who needs practice?


Additional Resources:

  • Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company.
  • McVeigh, F. (2013). Volume of Reading: How much is enough?  link
  • Robb, L. Volume in reading still matters!  edublog.scholastic.comScreenshot 2019-10-22 at 4.44.39 AMScreenshot 2019-10-22 at 4.45.04 AM



Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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Addendum:  The reading conferences with this student will address this practice reading because of Regie Routman’s words, “deliberate practice without effective teaching and coaching doesn’t guarantee growth.”

Routman, R. (2018). Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for ALL Learners. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

#ILA19: Research


Third time’s a charm!  It was so helpful to dig into additional chapters from this book.

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I wrote briefly about the #NCTE18 session here and assessment and vocabulary as well as #ILA18 here about Chapter 16 Comprehensive Literacy Instruction and 8 essential components.

Assessment:  Peter Afflerbach Handout

So much to think about from this outline. Some key takeaways to discuss:  What do you know about your assessments?  What do they claim to measure?  How well does the assessment align with your “needs”?  What are the challenges?

How do we get quality, informed research in the hands of teachers and administrators around the world?

  1. Know the source.  What Works Clearinghouse 
  2. Know the researchers and their reputations and experience as researchers and practitioners.  Reading Hall of Fame is one trusted source.
  3. Know the goals of research.  Nell Duke and “10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know about Research”
  4. Attend the #ILA19 Research session with P. David Pearson and Nell Duke at 7 AM on a Saturday morning in New Orleans!

 

 

#ILA19: Images


Powerful words and images from Institute Day at #ILA19 that promise thoughtful reflection throughout the convention!

From Diane Lapp and Kelly Johnson (Breakout Workshop B)

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Afternoon Keynote

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 #earlylitILA19 pm keynote: Juli-Ann @julieB224

What images are you thinking about?

What are your Top 3 sessions for #ILA19?

#SOL19: Saving Lives


Miss Fran  Miss Fran  Miss Fran  Can you come here  We need help  Jeannie fell down and she is crying

20 simple words

Words that I had to replay in my head to understand what I had just heard

The sense of urgency The fear The need

20 simple words that were uttered totally like verbal diarrhea that can make sense in print with a rereading or two Capital letters help with sentence sense but the work is difficult when punctuation is left out

I do believe the message on this shirt that I found on Facebook

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Source:  Facebook

Punctuation can save lives as illustrated by the Tshirt above.

Punctuation. can. cause. major. headaches.

Who is punctuation for?

If you are still reading this post, how did you make sense of the text above the picture.  How were you able to read text without punctuation?  Often in a fast and furious draft, punctuation is spotty or left out.  Ideas.are.the.focus.

Thinking about punctuation brings to mind one of my favorite tools – punctuation sticks and I wrote about them here.

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Because these are clear, they can easily be inserted into several points in a line in order to determine that best location in any particular piece of writing. It’s a playful way to experiment with varying punctuation as well!

Why does it matter? 

Today is National Punctuation Day.  Try varying your “usual” punctuation today. 

Does anyone notice? 

Is punctuation more important for a Reader or a Writer?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: #OLW Celebrate


My One Little Word (#OLW) was out in force this holiday weekend.

Celebrate

So many choices . . .  It was a family weekend . . .

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Relatives  and a funeral

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Saturday Wedding

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The beginning of the NCAA football season . . .

Sunday AMarekN Family

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Monday Labor Day Dinner and 15 Mareks/Ruths

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A blog post for Literacy Lenses:  All Learning is Social and Emotional:  Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom and Beyond.  (link)

It began with a text!

“Good morning, Fran. Just realized you’re in the great state of Iowa and so am I this weekend!  My brother lives in Kalona.  How far am I from you?”

The irony.

And so noteworthy!

On Saturday we were playing cards at my aunt Janie’s in Kalona which is about 100 miles from my home.  I was there in Kalona the day before.  Kalona, a town in the northwest part of the county where I grew up.

It was an irresistible invitation. We solved the problems of the world, literacy, schools, and the state of education on Sunday when I met up with Dayna Wells, from California, that I met in real life in New York City at a TCRWP Saturday reunion over four and a half years ago (Link). A reader. A writer.  A blogger.  A Slicer. A TCRWP learner!

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How did you celebrate Labor Day weekend 2019?

What were your choices?  




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL19: “Testing, 1, 2, 3”


Which season of the year is it?

Do I hear the echo of “Testing 1, 2, 3” as a microphone check from the press box before the announcer begins pre-game festivities?  Or do I hear “Testing 1, 2, 3” as a part of Test Prep?

As an elementary student, I loved multiple choice assessments.  Yes, those ovals were sometimes a challenge.  Filling them in neatly.  Not over-coloring.  Staying inside the lines.

On testing days my bifocals would get a work out because I would literally almost put my nose on the passages as I absorbed the stories.. I put my heart and body into those tests and I loved getting the scores back because I would be praised for my work.

Because I scored well.  I was typically able to make good guesses when I narrowed down the choices.  Because I read quickly, I always had enough time to double check the passage to verify my answers. I agonized over my  answers and spent time trying to do my very best work.

When tests are used to SORT students, it’s really hard to figure out if groups of students are actually progressing.  And labels don’t help.

Case in point:  NAEP Scores

Let’s look at a few characteristics of the NAEP test that is used as the “Nation’s Report Card”.

PERFORMANCE LABELS:

Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, or Advanced.

But what does this label tell me? Here is what “Basic” looks like for 4th Grade:

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Many of the tasks listed in CCSS RL4.1-3 and RI.4.1-3 are included in “Basic” level.  The NAEP page even contains a caution: “It should be noted that the NAEP Proficient achievement level does not represent grade level proficiency as determined by other assessment standards (e.g., state or district assessments).”        -Source

Why then does everyone think that “Proficient” is the goal?

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So “below basic” still means a student can “demonstrate a literal understanding of what they read, understand a main idea from expository text, or follow a simple plot. “Below Basic” does not mean that the students cannot read.  And that is worth repeating.

“Below Basic” does not mean that the students cannot read. 

I’m not saying that high expectations and goals are not a part of our targets.  But what I am asking you to do is think about the criteria, who sets it, and what they have to gain by reporting that “education is failing” as the press seems to quite often do.

Let’s take a bit of time to explore NAEP assessments.

QUESTIONS:

Each test item in reading is labeled as one of these three:

  •  locate/recall,
  • integrate/interpret, or
  • critique/evaluate.

And the NAEP website shows this:

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So by percentage distribution (and for the sake of a conversation with 10 questions as an example):

2 out of 10 are locate/recall

6 out of 10 are integrate/interpret and

2 out of 10 are critique/evaluate

So what does this look like?  Are they all multiple choice (multiple guess) questions?   Here’s a released sample from 2017 for fourth grade.   You can check out additional samples or grade levels.

As you check out the sample, think about the skills and strategies that you, a proficient reader, use when you are reading.

Here are a few I thought of:

  • preview the questions before beginning
  • reread when stuck
  • be sure to check out headings
  • what do I need to remember about folk tales?
  • wonder the impact of character’s names
  • ask questions:  What exactly is a “merchant”?
  • reread to eliminate mc answers
  • reread to affirm possible multiple choice answers
  • reread to check your spelling for a constructed response

What is the ratio of the work that you ask students to do in your classroom on a daily basis?  Is it

  • 2 out of 10 are locate/recall
  • 6 out of 10 are integrate/interpret and
  • 2 out of 10 are critique/evaluate?

CONTENT:

How much does the content of the assessment matter?  How would you explain this to your students?  Your fellow teachers?  Your community?  How are you thinking you would fare on this assessment?

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And of course, the assessment is timed.  Readers have 30 minutes to read one story and respond to 10 questions.  They can reread.

But they seldom do.

They can reread, but they seldom do.

What is the thinking that students need to be able to do to be successful on this test? 

What is the thinking that students need to do to be successful in life?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2019/11/02/the-one-and-only-lesson-to-be-learned-from-naep-scores/#2a92ff337501 

NAEP’s “proficient” is set considerably higher than grade level, as noted on the NAEP site. (This is a lesson that has to be relearned as often as NAEP scores are released.) – Peter Greene

NAEP is extraordinarily clear that folks should not try to suggest a causal relationship between scores and anything else. Everyone ignores that advice, but NAEP clearly acknowledges that there are too many factors at play here to focus on any single one. – Peter Greene

#TCRWP 19: Conferring, Small Group and Transfer


It was a typical ending to the Reading Institute.  Filled with knowledge, new thinking, ideas from thought partners and then. . . WHAM! Unavoidable delays at the airport.

Choosing to harness the gift of time was difficult.  I wanted to complain so I did but I also wanted to take a look back at this week, a  typical week at #TCRWP where as a learner I was drinking from the fountain of knowledge at the same rate and intensity as the water erupting from a fire hydrant!

What was I working on? 

How did it go?

I’m still thinking of the three levels of transfer from Alexis Czeterko’s choice workshop, “Teaching for Transfer:  Remember What You Learn is for Life!  Supporting Transfer of High Level Skills across the Year and across Disciplines” and how these also REALLY apply to life.

The three levels were:

  1. Across Units
  2. Across the year/years
  3. Across Disciplines

How does that work in real life?  I’m still thinking on that answer, but I did have some “aha’s” as I thought about my learning during this week.

We were challenged to think of a way to share our learning in our advanced section, “The Intersection of Conferring and Small Group Instruction (3-8),” with Hannah Kolbo.  And as I struggled with a way to collect, organize and synthesize my learning across the ten hours this week, I abandoned idea after idea.  (Yes, many solely because I knew of no way to capture them on paper!)

This is my first draft attempt. I had to make conscious decisions about some things that just didn’t fit into this draft.  I was wishing for a flap to hide them under.  Or a second layer or even third layer. Or a way to visually construct something with moving parts. But it is what it is. A draft with room to revise, rethink, and perhaps to reimagine.

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Many of the big ideas are included.

One area where I continue to grow and learn is in the broadening of my definition of texts.  After all,  life isn’t really ONLY about texts and print or digital resources.  There were so many examples of “reading” at the airport that didn’t involve words. So many nuances. So many choices.

So many pieces to pull together and weave into the fabric and soul of my own literacy life as well as my learning life during the days, weeks, and months yet to come.

What did you learn this week? 

How will you hold onto your learning?

 

#TCRWP: Art and Science


Hall of Famer Dr. Tim Rasinski literally knocked it out of the park in Cowin Auditorium with his keynote, “Let’s Get back to the ART and Science of Teaching Reading!” We began with songs because songs after all are fun, aesthetic, and cultural.  But most importantly, it’s also READING!

We learned about Irving Berlin and the backstory for “God Bless America” first performed on Armistice Day by Kate Smith, the “Lady Gaga of the day”.

Song wasn’t the only art that Dr. Rasinski shared.  He used ART to illustrate the fact that the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is “CREATE” and that art is a pathway to creation for students and teachers.  Quotes and stories included:  Elliot Eisner, Steve Jobs, Alfred Einstein, Dalai Lama, and Nell Duke.

Tim Rasinski cited research and you can find it on his blog here that supports school work that he outlined where one component includes students learning poems every day. Poetry, another art, to be added back into teaching!

Of course we saw and participated in word ladders. Here is the Shark Week word ladder that Tim referenced in his keynote presentation.

Teachers can teach all of the “Big Five” from the National Reading Panel “Artfully”:  phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension through songs, poems, nursery rhymes, and performances. Student written scripts from existing stories were an extra plus for comprehension and that reading-writing connection!

His most recent work (co-written with 5th grade teacher Melissa Cheesman Smith) is The Megabook of Fluency, winner of the 2019 Teacher’s Choice Award.

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More about this text from Literacy Lenses here

A keynote that literally flew by with learning, fun and joy encapsulated in Dr. Rasinski’s 50 minute presentation!

Where might you add “ART” into your day?  What would be your goal? 

What have you added to your thinking about the art of teaching?

What were your takeaways from the keynote?

#TCRWP Reading Day 3


Reading habits for students and teachers are a skillfully woven thread to this week and from Day 3 this post could be about how Read Alouds, small group work and coaching intersect and complement each other.  But I am going to back up a step and share with your some of the learning that was emphasized yesterday about book selection by Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul in her choice workshop “All Diverse Books are NOT Created Equal:  A Toolkit of Critical Lenses for Teachers to Diversify Your Classroom Library.’

You may know Sonja from any of these works:

If you follow #G2Great you know that she was the guest on last week’s chat so I was delighted to see and hear her in person (although the topic was just a piece of this new book with Dana).

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Interactive?  Check

Read Aloud? Check

Informative? Check

WHY?

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop and the need for “Windows”, “Mirrors” and “Sliding Doors” were part of the why so students can see themselves and the value of their own lives in books. (More about Dr. Bishop here.) Sonja shared that her parents are happily married and her brother is gainfully employed which are two characteristics of stories NOT found in many current stories. Too many stories perpetuate false narratives.

Is the situation improving?

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You be the judge.

What are the 4 lenses?

Lenses:

  1. Representation
  2. Context
  3. Content
  4. Authorship

We physically looked at and read books from these collections as we learned about the four lenses and Sonja shared how even the books in her own classroom library had gaps when she applied those four lenses in her own audit and literally spread the books out on the floor.

The hard part of this is it will take time and work to diversify your classroom library.  Don’t make assumptions that it already is diversified.  Don’t just check off the four lenses.  Think about your students, their families and the community as you work to fill your classroom with books that represent your students and their lives!

When you think of your classroom library what books do you see?  What books do you not see? 

When you think of your Read Alouds what books do you read?  What books do you not read? 

How will you tackle both the “quality” and quantity of diversifying books in your classroom library?

 




Additional Resources:

Classroom Libraries

diversebooks.org

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

#OwnBooks

#disrupttexts

#31DAYSIBPOC

#SOL19: A Mystery


My favorite series as an early reader was Nancy Drew.  Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock was the first one.

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I didn’t really understand college, the job of a defense attorney, nor a housekeeper but I devoured them all.  I did understand that there was a mystery for Nancy to solve and that she always ended up in more trouble before she actually solved the mystery named in the title. I was simultaneously working my way through the Hardy Boys and was even more clueless about what a “roadster” was other than what I saw in the picture as those didn’t exist in my world.

Courtesy of the Elementary Book Love Summer Book Club, I am rereading The Parker Inheritance.  It’s a mystery, a puzzle, and definitely historical fiction.  I’ve been fascinated by the time periods because they are similar to my life.

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There are two different sets of characters.  In the present we have:

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In the 1950’s we have:

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How will it turn out? Will Candace and Brandon solve the mystery?

Who is James Parker?  What happened to the Washingtons? 

What will happen to Candace’s family?  And what about Brandon’s future?

. . .  more sketching ideas to come.  This is totally a work in progress. The book study began Monday, July 1.  Join  summerbookclub.org and help put libraries in classrooms as well as discuss some great books!




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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