March 3, 2017
- Happy Aloha Friday! Minimum Day today with staff meeting at 12:30.
- Mass today followed by Town Hall.
- Here’s a brief piece in full entitled “Rigor vs. Ease: What Should Adolescents Read?” by Sarah Lupo in Literacy Today, January/ February 2017 which may applies to all children:
“Do students need to read texts at their level, or do they need to read challenging texts?” asks adolescent literacy expert Sarah Lupo (University of Virginia) in this article in
. “What about the struggling readers?” The traditional view is that students should be matched with material at their instructional level – word recognition from 95-98 percent, comprehension from 75 to 89 percent. Lupo delved into the research and found surprisingly little guidance for secondary educators, but there were two important take-aways:
• Rigorous texts
. All students need to engage with material that has rich vocabulary, complex sentence structure, and complicated themes and ideas – in other words, texts that challenge them to make inferences, draw their own conclusions, and reach a higher level of analysis. “However,” says Lupo, “rigorous texts must be accompanied by an appropriate amount of scaffolding and support, especially for students who struggle.” This includes pre-reading support with vocabulary, background knowledge, and structure geared specifically to the text.
• Easier texts
. Reading less-challenging material is also important, especially for students reading below grade level. Such texts improve fluency, motivation, and engagement while building vocabulary and background knowledge and connecting ideas and concepts necessary to grasp higher-level content material. However, Lupo stresses, a diet composed only of easier texts may “stunt” adolescents’ comprehension. The formula for success, she says, is pairing a rigorous text with one or more easier texts on the same subject.
: Before students tackled Shakespeare’s
, they read a less-challenging article about Shakespeare’s era and another about how ice skater Tonya Harding hired a thug to attack rival Nancy Kerrigan so she wouldn’t be able to compete in the Winter Olympics. This sparked a lively discussion about people who are willing to do anything to get what they want, teeing up students’ reading of
. Before ninth grade biology students tackled a research article on sickle cell anemia, they read an easier article about Gregor Mendel’s key findings, introducing them to dominant and recessive traits, allele, hybrid, and genes. Students then read an article on the controversy surrounding “designer babies” and discussed whether people should be allowed to choose the traits of their offspring to avoid diseases. This launched them into reading a much denser article with background knowledge, vocabulary, and real curiosity. Have a good morning and God Bless you.