Hello everyone. I am brand new to Classroom 2.0 and am seeking advice on how to find resources for my new high school reading class. Our high school has grades 9-12 and about 240 students. I teach English I & III and Yearbook Journalism. We start school next week. The reading class will have about 25 kids, all of whom failed their 8th grade reading test or the high school STAR reading test. Basically, I will have the freshmen twice a day and would have had the upperclassmen when they were freshmen.
Based on what I've researched online or asked around, I have come up with this possible weekly structure for this class:
Mon. -- add cross curriculum "core vocab" to the kids' vocab journals and use interactive games on the Promethean Board to practice the vocab
Tues. -- apply reading strategies to short texts [context clues, inference, main ideas/details, author's purpose]
Wed. -- go to the computer lab to search online for articles of interest, blog about certain books, practice for the reading test via PASSKEY program that our school has
Thurs. -- practice writing strategies in cooperative learning groups
Fri. -- practice fluency with a partner, do silent reading, add difficult words under "My Words" in vocab journals
So what I am needing is a source for vocab games, age-appropriate short texts (different from what we will be reading in my English I class), potential websites, blogs, and age-appropriate materials for fluency practice. Seems like everything I find is for elementary kids and maybe up to 8th graders.
I love your wikispace! I have a "Reading Workshop" one for my English classes. Students post their answers to questions about their library books -- things on conflict, character, setting, and plot -- and they have to make connections to their own lives. For my new Reading class, I also created a wikispace where I post weekly lessons connected to whatever reading strategy we covered the day before. So far, I have ONE lesson. It's a work in progress. . . LOL
Anyway, I had no idea you can include audio clips like your kids have done. Last year, I got a grant to purchase some digital audio recorders after I attended the Celebrate Oklahoma Voices workshop. After my juniors watched the first part of Alex Haley's mini-series, Roots, I had them interview a family member for their "Trace Your Family Roots" project. I taught them how to edit the audio in Audacity and insert transitions. Unfortunately, we never completed the project due to frustrating technical difficulties with our school's server. Their edits kept getting erased and their audio clips distorted. Only two students of 17 completed the editing and uploaded the audio into PhotoStory where they set it all to photos. Very very sad and frustrating. :(
I will definitely look into the "think alouds" you mentioned. Being completely new and untrained for reading, I will have to research the strategy about connections, etc. It definitely sounds like something I can do cool things with, though. I know the grade school principal will be on board because she is a former librarian and reading specialist. :)
So glad you liked our wiki -- I would love to find some other classrooms that would like to respond to our students' work and post their own work -- would be great for a reading class!
A great resource for reading strategies is adlit.org You'll fnd loads of great stuff there.
I think the other thing I would say is to try to introduce as many great Young Adult books as you can (like the Hunger Games trilogy). Giving kids a chance to read really engaging and relevant books in school is a true gift.
In the first week of school, I brought my students to the media center to pick out novels. Then, I give time every Friday for independent reading in class. It's not going too well. They don't want to quit talking or stay awake. Very few will actually read, even when it's only for about 20 minutes and they know their behavior affects their grade. Any suggestions?
Ugh. Kids are so good at avoiding what we ask them to do, aren't they?
Have you tried doing any reading aloud with them? A teacher I work with read aloud "Sold" by Patricia McCormick which is super high-interest and is written in short snippets. One of the reasons she did it is because so many kids that would be in a reading class have never actually read a whole book. The read-aloud would give them the experience of reading a whole story. She was able to get class sets so they could read along and many of them would read ahead because the story was so good. That's one idea.
Also, there is a lot of research that struggling readers just don't know how to find books that interest them. I read an idea where the librarian made a box called "good books" and put just 20-25 titles in it. This gave the students a more focused way to search for a book. After students had exhausted the "good books" box, she made another called "more good books."
The book Readicide that I recommended has a list of books even reluctant readers like and I'm sure there are some others out there that would be a good place to start.
I think my overall advice is to keep the reading time short. To kids that don't read, even 20 minutes can seem like a long time (you can work up to it). And, if you can, read while they are reading - and read young adult stuff (even Twilight!) so you can recommend titles to them and talk to them about what they are reading.
I remember reading Sister Souljah's "Coldest Winter Ever" and my kids were shocked that I would read it - it got a lot of good conversations going (BTW, if you haven't read it, it will shock you!!)
Good luck and keep at it!
You should read the book Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. It is a great professional book for secondary teachers. It will really make you evaluate what you are doing in your classroom to promote lifelong readers. The Book Whiperer by Donalyn Miller is also fantastic. It is a very motivating book to help you get kids excited about reading.