Stage C
Independent Reading: Determining a Fair Due Date

We have all had students who are reading the same book for weeks on end without seeming to make much if any, progress. Check out this method for an attainable and easy-to-implement schedule for READ 180 students reading any book.  


The key is determining how many days students will be reading in the marking period. On my class calendar and a one-page marking period calendar handout, I identify book points, with one point read for every 3 days. (This method does not apply to System 44 students). 

Important: I make sure to only count full days of school (half-day schedules can wreak havoc on READ 180 activities) and allow 2-3 flex days within the MP "just in case."

  • All reading, book work and the quiz is due on or before the point due date. 
  • If students do not finish a book on time, they still follow the point schedule on the calendar and are held responsible for catching up.
  • If a student decides they do not like the book they selected (and I try to limit switching books to the 1st couple of days), they must understand what they are still held to the MP point requirement.
  • My students understand that even if they are absent (sick, OSS, vacation, etc), they are expected to meet or exceed their book points (See Andy's student profile below). Yes, I allow students to take their book home with the understanding that if it is lost, it will cost $20 to replace. (I know $20 is excessive, but once students realize the replacement cost, they manage to "find" the lost book. Works like a charm! The key is setting in place a way to assign a numbered book to a student and keeping a list of students and their books.

Many students can and will read quicker than the "3 days : 1 point" schedule. For these students, after they show me they are truly reading independently, I don't need to follow their progress as closely. As the year progresses, I find more and more of my students fall into this true independent reader category. But in case they start to slack off for some reason, I still keep an eye on their progress.


One thing I plan to add this year that I did not do last year is to chart students' book points each MP on a chart near my calendar.  Students will be able to see at a glance how many points they have v.s. where they should be.


I give extra credit for only three things: Extra book points, Lexile improvement, and Software completion above and beyond the minimum (more on this in a future blog).  The extra credit will keep students reading even if they have met their MP Book Point Goal. Or, once a student's point goal has been met for the MP, allow him or her to select a book outside of their Target Lexile to read for the remainder of the MP, or use the eReads, Newsela.com, etc.  


Book points are found in SAM'S Book tab. On the back of all of my READ 180 library books, using a Sharpie, I write the Lexile, i.e. 650L and book points, i.e. 6, which I circle so my students always know the book's "value."


It is important, at least to begin the year, for students to read books within their target Lexile (100 Lexiles below to 50 Lexiles above their RI Lexile).  If a student wants to read a higher Lexile book, they need to show me they are ready: he/she 

  1. meets the Book Point Goal 
  2. consistently passes their book quizzes on the first attempt. 
  3. or... see Andy's story below.


One of the most important things to understand about behavior management is that some students will try to resist and "break" the behavior management rule before finally accepting and following the teacher's expectations. This acceptance only occurs IF the teacher remains firm and does not give up or give in. For some students this realization only comes after report cards go home, others figure it out mid-MP, and some take longer.  

My expectation is that students will read and earn a minimum of "x" book points in the marking period (including passing the RC Quiz, and completing their reading log, etc.). Yes, students who are resistant or poor readers will at first try to do what they have always done when reading a book. However, with this system, and following the READ 180 Target Lexile guidelines those students can and will find success if the teacher remains firm to his/her expectations.  


Last year, Andy was one of those students. His Lexile tested low, beginning around 500L and increasing each time assessed to about 800L by year end. He inhaled books, but had a "panic" attack when reading books longer than 100 - 130 pages. He did not believe in himself; however, eventually, those lower Lexile books annoyed him with their more simplistic writing and plots; subconsciously he wanted more sophisticated text.

My Matt Christopher books satisfied Andy for awhile, but once he began listening to his inner voice, he grew frustrated with them. He liked anything sports or action related and preferred fiction, so I suggested Mike Lupica's books, but their length was too big of a hurdle for Andy. Then I convinced him to try Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (1140L). SUCCESS! Andy devoured the book while out on a 6 day suspension (emailing me his progress every day  -LOL!) and aced the RC Quiz on his return to class.  When I asked Andy how he liked the book, he gave me a look (eye roll) and said it was "ok" but he had to read the next book in the series to find out what happens (a look of total disgust with a hint of a grin peeking out).  I sent him home for the summer with book 2, which he promised to return.

You might be wondering why Andy's Lexile did not reflect his ability. In Andy's case, he was very ADHD, oppositional, did not believe in himself, and would act out to get sent out of class, therefore avoiding work.  It did not work for him in my class because I held Andy to the same standards and expectations as everyone else.  He constantly checked his grades and within an hour of my updating his grade to reflect any missing assignments, Andy was at my door, or email me to enquire about what he had to complete to bring it back up.  Once Andy realized I was not accepting anything but his best, he would stay after school and spend his lunch period in my room to make up any missing work, or just to hang out.  


Stage C READ 180 Educator

Debbie is a READ 180 Stage C teacher based in New Jersey. 

  • This is so nice idea for me! Thank you!

    Debbie!! Thank you so much for this idea. I implemented this about a month ago in all 5 classes (55% special ed students) and it is an astounding success. They are very grateful that they have a concrete system to keep them on track on all of their independent reading. It REALLY worked for them, and ME!! Thanks.

    I love this idea and would like to use it this year. About how many points total would you require in your trimester?(only 13) If a student picks a book that is higher than 13 points, do you increase their reading due dates?

    Last year, in trimesters 2 and 3, my students needed 18 book points. The first trimester, it is less because we don't begin reading until after they take the RI. This year, I expect students will select books on 9/18 and begin reading 9/19. The trimester ends 12/1, with that timing, that gives them time to read 14 or 15 book points TM1. With new students, I would make sure they can read a book successfully before reading a longer, higher point book, perhaps beginning with a 6-8 pt book.

    Thank you for sharing this. Could you please clarify this statement: "I identify book points, with one point read for every 3 days" ? Thanks!

    Hi. It can be difficult to determine how long it should take a student to read each book. Every book has a different page and word count, and some students seem to drag a book out forever, then cannot pass the RC Quiz hen they finally finish reading. Last year I tested this theory and it worked - even with my most reluctant readers. A friend at a middle school also tested it and her students loved this format. For each book point, it takes a student about 3 days from start to quiz (continued)

    For each book point, it takes a student about 3 days from start to quiz (NOT SY44 books). We don't have any 1 point books in READ 180, but 1 pt is used as a measurement format. A 3pt book, start to finish would be finished day 8 & tested on day 9 (3pts x 3 days/pt). A 5pt book would be finished by day 14, and tested by day 15 (5pts x 3 days/pt). Of course, some students will finish earlier & exceed the point min.-great! But for others, they are kept on task and held accountable. Dlee@gehrhsd.net

    Thanks for sharing! I'm slightly confused as to how many days you expect a student to finish in? Do I go on SAM and mark my books with how many points they are? So, if a book is 6 points then the student is expected to finish it within the 2nd book point time period? Correct? If not, please clarify. I'd love to have a more clear way to tracking their progress and keeping them moving forward.

    Thank you for your questions. 1. Yes. Go into SAM's Book Tab and look up the point value for each book in your library. I mark all my books on the back cover with the Lexile and book points; I circle the book points so students can easily identify which number refers to the points. 2. For a 6pt book, if started on 9/19, as on my calendar image above, the book would be read and all work completed by 10/13 (the 6th book point marked on the calendar). I hope this helps. Debbie dlee@gehrhsd.net