Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Three Reading Levels

In Multiple Paths to Literacy I read about three different reading levels that teachers consider when assigning reading materials to their students.  The first level is the independent reading level.  This is the level at which a student should be able to read everything with little or no difficulties.  This type of reading is fun, because it is fast, satisfying, and not frustration.  I think of it as "green light reading"

A second level is the instructional reading level, which students should be able to read most of, but occasionally need a teacher or someone else around to help with new words, or mispronunciations.  This level of reading usually produces the most learning and "growth" for the students because it pushes them just a little beyond their comfort zone.

The third level is called the frustration reading level -- what I consider "red light reading".  This level is too difficult for students, even with help and guidance, and Gipe calls this the "groan zone". This is when students start squirming, crying, misbehaving, or just stop enjoying reading.

Ideally, teachers would know what these levels are for each student, and push them to the growth zone as often as possible.

This concept reminded of weightlifting -- which believe it or not, I have done.  In weight lifting, while it might be fun to spend all your time with green weights, you will not grow if you don't push yourself to try harder weights.  Of course, if you are not aware of your limits, you can cause significant damage by attempting to lift weights too high for your muscles.  Ideally, you want to push yourself to spend time in the yellow zone, where you are able to do multiple repetitions, yet still struggling some what, so your muscles have to break down in order to rebuild.

Assigning problems in mathematics is similar -- If I assign students that are too simple, it ends up being a waste of the students time.  If I assign problems that are too difficult, then the students won't be able to gain anything from them, and may get turned off, frustrated, angry, or lose confidence.  My goal in assignments is to meet in the middle. I sometimes call them Goldilocks problems....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...