Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel

Subject: Re(2): Question

From: Cheryl A. Schober (schober@platteville.k12.wi.us)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 17:16:39 EST

ATHENAN418@aol.com writes:
>I could see if these are kids who couldn't read, but they are not. These
>kids who have already made up their minds that reading "these stupid
>books is dumb." With these types of kids, you are always recreating the
>curriculum. It is truly challenging and at times rewarding, but the sane
>of me yearns for the group that may one day, at least once, (or twice)
>read a
>book without the daily tug of war or pulling of teeth.

It sounds like you are very frustrated with your current teaching
situation. I have one suggestion that you may want to try with these
reluctant readers: Have a novel choice unit. This is a unit I use with
my high school freshmen, and the sophomore teachers here have also used it
with their students. I start this unit by briefly introducing seven
different books and then asking the students to rank their preferences. I
group them by their choices (usually four to a group) and tell them that
they now have to set their own reading schedule and be responsible to each
other. They must have their reading and a group project completed by a
designated date, so it's up to them to establish how quickly they finish
the reading and how much class time they will have to complete the
project. The class time inbetween the introduction and the end date is
given for them to meet to discuss the novel, to read silently, to take
notes on the reading, and then to work on the project. Individually they
have to take notes on the reading and take an essay test on the novel. At
the end of it all, they also complete peer evaluations where they rate the
amount of effort each member of the group (including themselves) put forth.

Even though I pick the seven novel for them to choose from, the students
are very motivated to work since they still have a CHOICE in what they are
to read. They also have control over the reading schedule. It's amazing
to me that someone who hasn't read a book all year will lobby for his/her
group to get their reading done as quickly as possible so that they can
work on the project. I've also seen students who really don't do much
reading chose one of the more difficult novels and read it completely.
When they have choices and some control over the work to be done, the
motivational levels just soar! Let me know if you want any further
information about this unit. . .



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