With the coming of the half-way point in this school year, students should be well ensconced in our class routines: Whole Group, Small Group, READ 180 Software, and even Independent Reading. However, no matter how routine the routines become, I always find there is room for reflection and improvement.
If students are not self-guided in your classroom routines, or still show some confusion at times, it is up to us, their teachers, to make sure we clarify and rethink those areas that are not working as expected. And even if students are self-guided, that doesn't mean we should accept the status quo. There is always room for improvement.
Back in September 2016, I posted my "Independent Reading HELP!" blog with tips and tricks to a successful Independent Reading Rotation. Since then, I have made some adjustments and improvements, which I would like to share.
HOW MANY BOOKS CAN MY STUDENTS READ EACH MARKING PERIOD?
I have found that students can easily read books totaling 13 book points a marking period. Many students can and will read more. However, for our most reluctant readers (usually the majority of students in our READ 180 classes), book points equivalent to 1 pt every 3 days is doable and is not overwhelming. Therefore, a 3pt book would be completed within 9 days inclusive.
- MP1: This is usually my trial period where I get to know and understand my students and their abilities. Since we don't begin the Independent Reading Rotation right away, expecting 9-10 book points completed MP1 where you have 4 marking periods and are reading 20 minutes a day would be fair.
- MP2, 3, and 4: Letting students know how many book points they need gives them a goal. If all, or most students make the point goal, for the next MP, add two more book points to the MP requirement and, if you use the MP Calendar, adjust your point dates to accommodate the added points.
- READING MORE POINTS = EXTRA CREDIT: If students read more book points than required, they earn extra credit points for each additional book point over the minimum.
- A MARKING PERIOD CALENDAR, such as the one above, can be organized to let students know how many book points they should have completed at points within the MP, with every 1 book point equaling 3 days of IR work inclusive of Reading Logs, Graphic Organizers, QuickWrites, Study Guides, and Book Quizzes. (NOTE: This is only for READ 180 books, not System 44 books which require audio support and repeat readings resulting in many more days per book.)
- CLASSROOM CALENDAR: In addition to the printed calendar I give all students for their self-recording and organization, I also list points due (and segments due) on the class calendar. Because I recorded the information in pink, before I even told students it was there, they saw it and knew exactly what the pink information was referencing.
- LONG CALENDAR BREAKS: For long breaks, i.e. Christmas and Spring Vacations, I require students to complete a specific number of book points prior to leaving on vacation. For example, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my students had to read and earn at least 6 book points. I did not allow students to carry over books, as in my experience, these long vacations become too full of other family events and students come back without having read anything. It's less stressful on everyone to not expect them to read, but let students know that they can if they want. When we return from the break, everyone begins a new book.
- TRIMESTERS: My school does not have marking period quarters this year, instead we have trimesters, or 3 marking periods. And next year, it may change again with more of a rotating block schedule (???) - Well, at least that's the rumor. We shall see. The sample calendar above is separated into trimesters, not what most of you are using. Please feel free to adjust the document to meet your needs, as always.
HOW CAN I KNOW IF STUDENTS A READY TO TAKE THEIR BOOK QUIZ?
- BOOK QUIZ TICKET: I have revised my original version of this form to include book points needed, earned, etc.
- Sometimes, especially when a teacher has a large class without a second teacher, paraprofessional, or teacher's assistant, students take book quizzes they are not ready to take. Requiring them to complete all related paperwork AND the study guide before taking the quiz will assure that everything is complete, the student is ready - really, ready.
- UNENROLL STUDENTS FROM READING COUNTS: For teachers who still have students taking quizzes without permission, simply unenroll the student from Reading Counts in SAM. You can easily reenroll them.
HOW CAN I BE SURE STUDENTS ARE READING WITH COMPREHENSION?
We have all been there. A student drags out their reading, and then fails the quiz. At the beginning of the school year, many may try to pull the wool over my eyes, but they soon realize reading is a requirement - and an important chunk of their grade: 20% of their MP grade + part of the 10% participation grade.
In order to keep students on track and identify those who are struggling in independent reading, when a student finishes a book, they have to complete the 30 question study guide (All 30 quiz questions in SAM).
- STUDY GUIDES: I print and keep copies of all 30 quiz questions for each book my students read. Since I have a printer in my classroom, as all READ 180 Teachers should have, when a student is ready to complete the study guide for their book, I print 4 copies with the key.
- The student gets one study guide and the remaining 3 copies go into the Study Guide File Drawer for future use.
- Study guide keys are filed in another file drawer. This way, I have quick access to many study guides and their keys when needed.
- Students must have 21 or more (70%+ correct) to qualify to take the quiz.
- If 50% (14 - 20 correct), they must make corrections and have at least 70% correct to take the quiz.
- Many of my students have difficulty with remembering things, and reading books with a lot of facts and characters can be difficult. If a students can answer half of the study guide questions, I believe they have shown me they have read the book. For this reason, I give them an opportunity to make corrections if they have at least 14 correct (50% - 1).
- I do have a couple of students who really struggle to remember what they read. If a student is struggling and can show they have read the book, with 12 or 13 correct, I will give them some leeway to make corrections. As teachers, that's what we do. Not every student has the same needs as the rest. The more we teach, the more we learn to identify our students' needs and those who are not as needy as they make it look.
- I generally give students 2 days to complete and correct a study guide.
- No, students may not use the book to help them take the quiz.
- No, students may not use the study guide or book to help them take the quiz.
- I teach students to highlight the sentence stem and answer to help focus their studying for the quiz.
WHY ARE ALL YOUR IMAGES PINK?
- COLOR CODE ROTATIONS: All reading paperwork, worksheets, and tickets are printed on the same color paper to help students quickly identify them. I choose pink for reading, green for computer work, etc.
You can find the resources mentioned in this blog HERE.
How have you adapted and adjusted your Independent Reading Rotation since the beginning of the year?