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READ 180 Community Newsletter - Spring 2010

Improving Accountability in Independent Reading

READ 180 Differentiation Factor

April 12 , 2010

With the right tools, you can help students build the skills they need to be successful in school. This article shares tips for your Independent Reading Rotation, from promoting student interest about books to matching students to the correct books.

As teachers, we know the power of reading. Many of us became teachers because we loved to read and can easily recall our first favorite books and magazines. Unfortunately, this may not be the case for many of our READ 180 students.

As 21st Century learners, today’s students need real literacy more than ever. People everywhere are reading at a higher rate—with more access to text in print, Online, and digital formats. Fortunately, you couldn’t be teaching readers at a more exciting and pivotal time! And, fortunately with READ 180, you have the tools to help your students build the skills they need to be successful in school—and in life!

1. Create Interest. Begin your independent reading rotation by "selling" the books. You may want to use the ‘Create Interest' activities found in the Teaching Guides, or make up your own. Display the covers of a few books and hook the students! Share details that will make them want to grab the book-and read it!

2. Do a Book Pass. Have each student choose three books that look interesting to him or her. Then have each student select one of his or her choices and read the book for five minutes. Continue by having each student write the title of the book in their Reading Log. Do this two more times so that students read for 15 minutes altogether.

READ 180 Sentence Starters for Reading Logs

3. Match students to books. Identify students’ Lexile scores and help them select books by suggesting they choose ones that are “just right” for them. A “just right” book will be between 100 points above and 50 points below a student’s Lexile score. The Targeted Reading Report helps identify students’ appropriate reading levels.

READ 180 Three Stages of Instruction and Support

4. Make Reading Accountable. Assign clear, quantifiable guidelines for reading. Few students will read very much initially, but you can build their reading stamina over time. Use the following guidelines when assigning reading. Always have students bank the pages they’re read in their Reading Logs.
Quarter 1: Read 5 pages
Quarter 2: Read 7 pages
Quarter 3: Read 10 pages
Quarter 4: Read 12 pages

5. Have Students Respond to Reading. Make sure students use the QuickWrites in the teaching guides to respond to their reading. Prepare by flagging the pages in each book where students should stop and complete a QuickWrite. You can use sticky notes or draw bubbles on the appropriate pages with a colored marker. You might also want to reduce the QuickWrites on a copier and cut them out into bookmarks. Then insert the bookmarks at the appropriate places in each book. Whatever you do, make sure that students have as many opportunities as possible to respond to their reading through writing.

6. Praise Student Progress. This is probably the best and most fun motivator for students—and for you! Find ways to congratulate students on their reading. When a student passes a Scholastic Reading Counts! quiz, ring a cowbell or blow a whistle and say, “Congratulations, Juan! You’ve just passed your Scholastic Reading Counts! test.” Encourage others to join in and congratulate their classmates as well. After all, they are a community of learners. Let students know that you appreciate their hard work—and find ways to celebrate their successes!

7. Create Lifelong Readers. Before long, students will find that they really enjoy reading certain authors such as Sharon Draper or Walter Dean Myers, or genres such as action or graphic novels. Don’t let their enthusiasm die! Take students to the library to find similar authors or genres that may interest them.

You may also want to purchase additional libraries, specifically designed for READ 180 students:
READ 180 Xtra™ Fiction and Nonfiction Collections: Engage Level 1–2 readers with this collection of fiction and nonfiction titles at Stages A, B, and C. Books in collection range from 200–1100 Lexiles.
READ 180 Xtra Advance Libraries: Fiction and nonfiction books in the Lexile range of 700–1300 for Level 3–4 readers. Available for Stages B and C.
READ 180 STRETCH: Challenge your Stage C readers with high-interest fiction and nonfiction books in the Lexile range of 700–1200.
READ 180 Xtra Audiobook Libraries: Six award-winning audiobooks (4 copies each) with reading coaches for Stages A, B, and C+ students.

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