Wait a Year on the Novels

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1 thought on “Wait a Year on the Novels”

  1. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    District admins love to claim that students are reading in the TL. It’s a feel good idea for everyone, except if the reading isn’t automatic and effortless, then it’s not only not serving its potential purpose; it’s also doing damage! It’s reinforcing the notion that reading is hard/laborious; that these impossible words crowded on the page don’t carry decipherable sounds or meaning!! Remember, first do no harm…

    Since my district is really into reading we have the easiest books in class but rarely ever have the kids reading them independently. We do tons of pre-reading (front-loading) activities, dramatization, drawing, parallel scenes and stories, etc. to exercise the heck out of the language contained in the story structure. The book itself is but a guide, and if there’s also a teachers guide then we may use it for extensions and further opportunities to chew on the story, too.

    The only fool-proof independent texts are the ones created in class. They’re short enough (even if they become an extended chapter book over time), compelling, and of course 100% language-controlled by the T/‘Language Parent.’ We do only the easiest novels like Ben mentioned – BB tells the truth, BB wants a dog and there are some cute collections of illustrated mini-stories by Craig Klein-Dexemple (El Ratón Pablito, etc.) that are good for novices, too… For young novices there’s Edi el Elefante, which you may be able to use w older kids – depending on how willing they are…

    Many teachers of novices take the tailored OWI’s, Card Talk, Special Person interviews and other oral work, write them up, and bind them into class books. If you’re techie and have time you can make e-versions or like me just multiple color copy versions…These are custom-illustrated treasured texts cuz they came through the kids’ hearts and hands!

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