Using their own records for what books they read this quarter, students reflected upon their reading and learning. Here are some of the responses.
Regarding the students themselves:
· Total student number completing the reflection: 102
· 3rd period: 26 students
· 4th period: 23 students
· 5th period: 26 students
· 6th period: 26 students
· Seven students incorrectly indicated what class they are in. Were this a high-stakes test, I guess I would be required to remediate this skill of identifying and marking the correct class period. Were this a high-stakes test, this is just the type of question that someone somewhere might believe is something that actually should be taught. I just chalk it up to user-error/laziness; I do teach 8th graders, after all.
· The average Beginning of Year Lexile Level (self-reported) was 1092. This number, according to the new “stretch” Lexile Level range, is above the 9th grade level. I’m quite proud of the good work of these students, and their teachers and parents, who have worked so hard to ensure they are good readers. Hopefully, that number will be at least 50 points higher for the average End of Year Lexile Level. That growth is dependent upon us working together, which I’m confident is quite possible.
Regarding the books the students read:
· Total books read: 768. This breaks down to an average of 7.52 books per student.
· 3rd period: 209. This breaks down to an average of 8.02 books per student.
· 4th period: 171. This breaks down to an average of 7.43 books per student.
· 5th period: 195. This breaks down to an average of 7.5 books per student.
· 6th period: 193. This breaks down to an average of 7. 42 books per student.
· 75 of the students expected to read MORE books than they actually did. I guess we’re all getting a little bit busier, and we’ve got less time on our hands to do the important work of teaching ourselves something new and interesting, or enlightening our minds with new poetry, or just getting lost in a good book.
· When indicating their favorite genre:
o Fiction—64; with lots of subgenre specifications
o Poetry—24; with one “probably poetry”
o Nonfiction—13; with various subgenre specifications
Students also responded with some shorter answers to open ended questions. The collection of these responses is much longer than I should present in a single post, so below you'll see that I've linked to the separate documents, for your viewing.
What was it, specifically, about your favorite genre, that you liked so much?
What was it, specifically, about your favorite book, that you liked so much?
What did you learn about yourself as a reader, this quarter?
I told the students before they completed this reflection that their responses are one of my favorite things to read all quarter. All of us keep Reading Records, and these simple documents should help us to reflect on our own reading and learning throughout the quarter. Part of being a good reader is learning about what type of a reader we are: what subjects I like to read about, what authors I enjoy reading, how long I can sustain my attention with one book. The Reading Record helps us to track this information, and the Reading Reflection helps us to intentionally look back and process this information. I don't want the students to arbitrarily plow on as readers, picking up random books and reading because they "need" to read or because I require them to read. I want to help the students discover what type of reader they are, what type of books they enjoy reading. If I can help my students discover what type of reader they are, I can help them discover their interests, I can help foster those interests, I can help focus those interests, and hopefully that will be something that sticks with them for years and years to come, since it is a part of who they are. That part of planting a seed that can sprout and grow later on down the road gives me great hope, and keeps me working to help my students to become readers--better readers but moreso engaged, interested readers.
If you take the time to read those longer documents that display the students' shorter responses, you may describe the grammar as atrocious, and think that we need to spend more time focusing on the fundamentals of writing. I will agree that there are glaring areas in need of significant improvement, and we will be focusing much of our 4th quarter on some of these skills, but mostly on just getting the little things right while still enhancing the things that we do well. I look forward to the 4th quarter, and what learning we will do together.