Outside Reading for 7/8 grade

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by MrsCAD, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    Dec 20, 2008

    I have always required my students to do outside reading, usually 4 books every grading period. I space them apart and give them a deadline mid-way through the 9 weeks where two of the four have to be read by and then another deadline the last week of the term for the 2nd two.

    My problem is I don't know that I like the way I do it. One of the books for each deadline, they take an AR test on. The other book they do a Book Project on (there is a list of 20 things they can chose from). They are not allowed to read the same book for both.

    I'm looking for some other ideas. I just don't think they are reading the books like they are supposed to. I am going to challenge my gt students more this next semester.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!:thanks:
     
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  3. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Dec 21, 2008

    I use a format similar to the one on this link. I like it because it requires them to do some thinking about the book beyond the usual book report requirements.

    http://www.infoplease.com/homework/wsbookreporths.html

    I wonder if part of the problem may be the number of books assigned. My good readers would have no problem with it. My weak ones would.

    I assign my students AR points for the quarter based on their ability. They take AR tests on all of them. However, one of their books for the quarter also has to have a written (actually typed) analysis done similar to the one linked above. They also turn in weekly reading logs with a minimum of three entries, summarizing what they read.
     
  4. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    Dec 21, 2008

    These same students go from reading 5 books a grading term to 4, plus I do not assign very much homework, their homework for me is reading everynight. They just don't like to do it, so they don't and then they cheat or barely do their assignments.

    Also, thank you for the link. I was thinking of doing something along those lines for my GT students and that helps a lot!
     
  5. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Dec 21, 2008

    And, as I think of it, it really depends on your population of students, too. The majority of homework for me is reading and whatever they do not finish in class. BUT, so many of them are involved in so many extra curricular activities, it is like beating my head against the wall. I went to points as opposed to books, because it seemed to take care of the wide diversity of reading levels. My top ones are reading way above their level and my lowest is at a third grade independent reading level. Unless he read non-chapter books, he could never get four books done.

    Our 7/8 Lit teacher (I teach 6th) requires only two books and the majority will read only one or none - and then it is below their reading level. They honestly don't care if it effects their grade. For the most part mine do care - or their parents do. LOL.

    I apologize if I sounded as if I was being critical - I really wasn't. I was thinking in terms of my own students and of course every class varies.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Dec 22, 2008

    You mentioned that you are using AR tests for one book. Why isn't the program being used all the time? It does not specify any "numbers" of books, but tailors the program to each child. You can still use book projects and other assessments along with the AR tests.

    Requiring certain numbers of books isn't the best way. What about your children who like to read longer books? They're going to struggle to get through their books, while a student who reads thin books won't be working all that hard at all.

    (I'm an AR trainer, so I always watch for AR issues.)
     
  7. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    Dec 22, 2008

    Honestly, if it was up to me........I wouldn't use AR at all. I HATE IT!! Especially for jr. high school students. AR does not ask any questions that force the students to infer and barely to comprehend the questions. That is why I do the Book Projects. I do not force kids to read certain level of books (other than my gt students). If it was up to me, I would allow them to read magazine articles they like and do some sort of project/report/analysis on it.
     
  8. Writer's Block

    Writer's Block Companion

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    Dec 28, 2008

    VERY stupid question, I am sure...what is AR?

    (I already feel silly asking it, but I just did :eek:)
     
  9. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Dec 29, 2008

    Not stupid at all. Accelerated Reader. Students read a book and take a test on line.
     
  10. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Dec 29, 2008

    I also do one book project per quarter, read one class book per quarter, use an anthology, and read periodicals. It sounds as if you are at a school where AR was thrown at you by people that have had no training in it. When that happens it is used incorrectly and is pretty useless. When used correctly, it is a part of a well rounded reading program.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Dec 29, 2008

    A lot of people misunderstand the AR program. It's a program to independent reading comprehension. It's only a small part of a larger reading program. Many people trash the program for not being thorough when it's designed ONLY to assess basic reading comprehension. They do, however, have vocabulary tests and reading skills tests for many books. They tend to be for "instructional" books that are used for group instruction. There are also Power Lesson books that go beyond basic reading comprehension.

    When properly implemented as a part of a complete reading program, it's especially effective for students reading slightly below or at grade level.
     
  12. LA/FLnewbie

    LA/FLnewbie Companion

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    Jan 8, 2009

    I have also been struggling with this issue. Last year (my first year!) I had them do a weekly Reading Log...they hated it, and so did I!!! So this year I have them fill out a "Book Review" form that I made each time they finish a book. It's pretty simple but takes some thought, and I wanted to post them for others to read and maybe get interested in the books. But now the kids are getting bored of them and not doing them, and I am honestly bored of reading and grading them, too! I would like to require projects, but still wonder how I can be sure the kids are actually reading (we don't have AR). What are others doing who don't have AR?
     
  13. LA/FLnewbie

    LA/FLnewbie Companion

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    Jan 8, 2009

    What are the projects like? Would you mind PM'ing me or posting a link to the list? How do you grade them? How do you know if they are reading, especially if you haven't read the book?

    Sorry for so many questions! I am really looking to fix up this area of my teaching :p
     
  14. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jan 10, 2009

    I require one grade-level book a quarter and they have to do a book report. Not the traditional "what happened?" etc - they have a list of activities to choose from and they have to choose at least 50 pts worth. Like "Write three journal entries for the main character," "Write a newspaper article about an event in the book," "Design a movie poster for the book," etc. Most kids get into it, plus it covers so much in Bloom's.

    I also have them choose Reading Counts books for DEAR and they have to take the quiz on it for a quiz grade. Anything past 2 RC books per quarter is extra credit.
     
  15. emptynest2001

    emptynest2001 New Member

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    Jan 13, 2009

    Even though AR isn't perfect, I do have to say a little something in its defense. Have you assigned any of the literacy quizes for the books they're reading? I've required my students to take the Literacy Skills Quizzes for a couple of the novels we've done in class, "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" and "Tangerine". These are definitely more in-depth and require analytical thinking skills. In fact, I print off the test to be sure I've covered all the elements in our class discussions. Just an FYI!
     

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