Exploring Reading is a small group reading intervention program that uses direct instruction to assist students in grades 6-8 accelerate their reading growth. The goal of the program is to have students learn to apply various comprehension strategies and decoding skills across all content areas and to be an effective reader. Specifically, students are taught how to clarify, predict, question, and summarize while reading various types of literature. These strategies help students monitor their own learning and foster reading comprehension.
Much of first quarter has been spent teaching students these valuable strategies and providing time to practice them in class. One way this is accomplished in Exploring Reading is through a weekly reading log. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday students are provided with 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to read a book of their choice. At the beginning of each week students are given a strategy to focus on while independently reading. Students read for 10 minutes on these designated days then respond in their log for 5 minutes reflecting on the reading strategy. Over time, the goal is for students to internalize these strategies and apply them to everything they read.
In order for the reading log activity to be successful, it is crucial for students to choose a book that not only interests them but is also at their reading level. However, choosing an independent reading book poses a challenge for many students. To make this experience less overwhelming, the Exploring Reading classes participated in a book pass activity last week. Since going to the library to choose a book can be a daunting task, books from the library were brought into the classroom. Every student was given a book pass form to complete while reviewing the book. The form is divided into four columns: book title, author, thoughts/notes, and yes/no/maybe. Each student read a book for 2 minutes. First, they were required to read the front and back cover of the book. Then they had to skim through the book to see if it sparked their interest and check the readability of it using the skills learned in class. When time was called, each student had one minute to evaluate the book and then pass the book to the next person. This process was repeated with each book. At the conclusion of this activity, students examined a variety of new books, and they now have a list of books to choose from for silent reading.