Friday, November 29, 2013

Leveled Books in a Common Core World

Many times, I've wondered about an overreliance on leveled texts.
I've pondered if we should sometimes let kids struggle because they want to read a book even if it is a major stretch.
I've wondered if the CCSS's admonishment of leveled texts is a bit of a "self correction" on a course we have taken that might contribute to a new controversy.
I'm aware of the research, albeit controversial, shared by Timothy Shanahan suggesting kids actually make better progress in the frustration level books!

I've leveled many a book for my own guiding of students towards material that is assessable but not frustrating, material that is at their "instructional level" so to speak in the balanced literacy vernacular.  I cannot imagine discontinuing this practice.
I've guided many a student towards more assessable and thus more enjoyable reading material that was "at" or even well "below" their assessed reading level for independent and home practice. I cannot imagine discontinuing this practice.
I've encouraged many a parent to accept rereading of familiar and easy texts for fluency and the end, texts that are matched to students’reading levels AND interests are important to build competent and fluent readers. I cannot imagine discontinuing this practice.

So from my perspective,
I'm taking the middle road, like Susan Ryan and referring to the fluency aspect of  Foundational Skills as I encourage self-selected texts matched, at least somewhat, to their level.
I'm looking at levels as a piece of the puzzle that supports fluency, phrasing, and enjoyment.
I'm encouraging self selection of texts at all levels.
I'm looking for high quality, classic texts that are engaging while not abandoning the wonderful world envisioned by 21st Century authors such as Mo Willems and Kate Messener!


1 comment:

Amy Rudd said...

To me the key is balance! Kids who are on a steady diet of decode me books are starving from beautiful language and the flowy breezes of the lovely words "just because that's not their lexile" . So as teachers we have to make sure they're exposed to all books not just the ones they can read. Glad to know you're from the "balanced" camp too!