Last week, I went with a couple of teachers to a literacy workshop in Bemidji. It's a series of workshops. The first workshop focused on vocabulary retention. This last workshop focused on reading strategies. The very last will focus on test-taking skills.
I am always interested in reading strategies and getting kids to read more and more effectively. The two points that really stayed with me;
1. People need to have a job to do while reading. When they read an article for the fun of it, they are usually asking themselves internal questions that they want to know the answers, or they are given an assignment by a supervisor. This work keeps readers focused. - Makes sense? No?
2. Along with a job to go with reading a person must have a purpose. Much like an author's purpose - there is a teacher's purpose - and a reader's purpose. I like that. Deciding on a purpose helps me find my job - What can I learn from this? What do I already know about this.
Our presenter also gave us the web address to lexile.com . For comfortable reading, I have my students read between 690 - 850. I had given my students a newspaper article I had found the other day on racism in a school in Owatonna, Minnesota. After giving students the simple task of finding the 5'w's (Remember - who, what, where, when, why), we talked about the article and the audacity of the behaviors of students. A lot of students wanted to know what happened. Did the racism ever dissipate? Has the racism escalated?
Later, I remembered my lexile analizer on Lexile.com. I found the article was at a 1330. That's a big difference betweent a 690 and 850 eh?