Friday, January 23, 2015

#celebratelu What happens when you get to Z?

While I embrace the concept of using leveled texts to scaffold students' reading and to assess students' reading progress, I rarely talk about "levels"in conversations with kids about books.  I talk about characters, setting, plots, and the way authors use words.  Sometimes, we talk about how the books are a little longer or a little shorter than other books we have read.  Always we talk about the parts/ones we like (or don't) and why (or why not).

So, it took me  by surprise when a student asked me, "What happens when I get to the Zs."  At first, I really wasn't even sure what he was talking about and so I must have given him a puzzled look.  Then I noticed the "level" emblazoned on the back of the book he was holding.  

"I'm already up to I," he said proudly, admiring the back of a book he had just finished where it said either "H" or "I" depending on how you held the book!  (Clearly, if you turned the book sideways, it looked like an "I.")
I smiled and said without any reservation, "You know that reading isn't about levels, right?"  

"I know," he assured me, "but at the rate I am going, I am going to be a Z real soon!" Without waiting for my response, he answered his own question.  "I guess you start over at A again, he quipped as he skipped out of the room.  Moments later he was back at the door, "I really liked that book a lot," he smiled. "See you Monday."

Smiling, as I tucked his group's books back into their bin, I thanked my lucky stars that we would not need to start over on A texts as after nearly 18 months of hard work, he was emerging as a reader!  Working together, he would soon be reading longer, more challenging books!  Someday soon, he really will be reading I level books!

Then, I jotted a reminder to write about this wonderful, tiny celebration in the middle of a jam-packed-full day.  Even if I can't take away the pressure kids feel from levels and scores, I'm doing my job IF they feel good about themselves as learners, learn to like reading, and want to come back Monday morning for "more."  



Amy Rudd said...

Hurray for loving books no matter what the level...congrats on the hard work of getting him to love reading!

Jennifer Laffin said...

This is certainly a wonderful celebration! You are right that our main job should be getting kids to love reading. The rest will take care of itself!


Terje said...

Interesting trail of thought from this reader. Good question. We know that books and reading don't end with Z. I hope he will discover it soon and until then he will enjoy climbing the levels because he reads daily.

Anonymous said...

Fun observation from the kid! You may need to get him the Dr. Seuss book On Beyond Zebra to give him a fun look at what comes after Z!

Rdgtchr said...

It is fun to celebrate the wonderful thinking from children. Thanks for sharing this.

LInda Baie said...

Even though we never talk about levels in my age class (6, 7, 8) they seem to reject those 'shorter' books that I believe they still would love because they think they're easier. It's hard to change the perceptions. I love your story & his mis-interpretation which made him very pleased. Nice work for his feeling proud, Anita.