Here at AISL, in the Primary school, we believe in supporting each child’s literacy development as part of their overall love of reading. While teachers continually collect ongoing formative and summative assessment data on each child’s reading progress, as a way to inform guided reading instruction in the classroom, it is not meant to be the only way our students grow as readers as part of their learning.
In guided reading instruction in the classroom, teachers work with students to practice decoding, comprehension, accuracy and fluency skills using texts that are at each student’s instructional level, a level slightly more challenging than what they are able to read and comprehend independently. When children read, we want them to have access to a range of books, some that they are able to read independently and others that are slightly more challenging for them, but still accessible and enjoyable.
From Kindergarten to Grade 5, our classroom libraries have been organized into book bands with each band containing between two and four levels of text difficulty, in order for students to have more access to breadth and depth in their reading selections. In addition to the books organized by book bands, our classroom libraries in upper Primary also have titles organized by genre to pique student interest in reading.
Determining and knowing a student’s precise reading level is assessment data for teacher’s to use to inform instruction and it is not meant as a reference point for students. This article by Kiera Parrott (2017) from the School Library Journal shares how reading according to a level only can actually disempower students as readers. In addition to providing students more choice in their book band, we also encourage them to self-select books by interest area and using a strategy, such as ‘The Five Finger Rule’. Self-selecting books for the love of reading applies to books chosen in the classroom library, as well as during their weekly book exchange in the school library.
Should you wish to understand more, please feel free to set up a time with your child’s classroom teacher or Maya Monteroso, our Teaching and Learning Coach.
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