Beyond Leveled Books: Supporting Transitional Readers in Grades 2-5

Beyond Leveled Books: Supporting Transitional Readers in Grades 2-5

Beyond Leveled Books: Supporting Transitional Readers in Grades 2-5

Beyond Leveled Books: Supporting Transitional Readers in Grades 2-5

Synopsis

Leveled books are now recognized as an essential tool in helping beginning readers learn to read. But once students have mastered many basic decoding and comprehension strategies, they move into a period of transition as readers. Transitional readers, with their diverse needs, have always challenged and delighted teachers in the upper-elementary grades. These readers have mastered many skills but are not yet able to choose books and sustain reading independently in a wide variety of genres. This book takes a close look at the way classroom routines, small-group instruction, mini-lessons, and conversations can help students move toward independence. Text levels are an effective tool for helping teachers match books with readers, but transitional readers can also benefit from the additional perspective that enables teachers to recognize the supports that texts have to offer. Beyond Leveled Books asks teachers to explore beyond levels and to look closely at the "supports" in the books they are reading with their students. These text supports include the way chapters are organized, text layout, dialogue, and more. Series books, chapter books, and picture books will take on new roles in upper-elementary reading instruction. Organized in charts and bibliographies, Beyond Leveled Books includes many examples of text supports from books commonly used by grades 2-5 teachers. This book provides teachers with:examples of classroom instruction for transitional readers;sample mini-lessons;strategies for grouping students for small-group instruction;assessment techniques;samples of student work;resources for working with parents;lists of suggested books for instruction.Beyond Leveled Books invites teachers to examine the characteristics and needs of transitional readers and provides instructional tools that will help students become strategic, independent readers.

Excerpt

Who among us hasn’t heard the old adage that we learn to read from kindergarten through second grade and then read to learn from third grade on. This notion was pounded into the brains of so many teachers that we began to believe it, until that day of reckoning when we stepped into a fresh third-, fourth-, or fifth-grade classroom and faced a gaggle of enthusiastic, tousle-haired kids who were a far cry from using reading to learn. While some were actually engaged in reading, many were flitting from one book to another like butterflies to flowers, abandoning books helter-skelter after five or ten pages. Still others were dozing off while attempting to read the assigned chapter in the history textbook. and more than a few were staring out the window while their book lay undisturbed in front of them. Many of these children did not appear to be reading for content, sustaining comprehension, or lingering in books. Yet, based on what we had been taught, they were supposed to be reading to learn by this time.

Good readers don’t stop learning to read in second grade and suddenly start reading to learn in third. Good readers never stop learning to read. I am a better reader today than I was yesterday and not as good as I will be tomorrow—and I survived my fiftieth birthday last year. Learning to read is a lifelong process. the more time we spend learning to read, the better we become at reading to learn. What bouncing, budding pre-adolescents need is more reading instruction, with methods and strategies to help them read for information, read to discern themes, read to enhance understanding, and read for enjoyment. What intermediate kids need is having their teachers read this terrific book by Franki Sibberson and Karen Szymusiak, educators extraordinaire.

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