Reflections and Celebrations

Chain picWe read 989 choice books this year!
Each link = one book!

We made major gains in Real Reading this year.

As far as assigned novels, we started our year with The Great Gatsby as a whole class novel.   All students were provided with time to read in class, audiobook access, and small-group discussions.  It didn’t go very well, with only 22% of students actually reading the whole book.  We gave students choice in the next literature unit, on the 1930s, and it went better, with 54% of students reading their assigned (chosen) novel.

We continued using choice in assigned reading throughout the rest of the year.  Instead of this data improving as the year progressed, it stayed stagnant.
When we read our assigned (chosen) 1950s novel, 51% of students read the entire novel.  


As we moved into our last and final literature unit with 1960s novels, I looked at ways to improve this data.  Instead of holding a 90 minute reading workshop a few times a week, we started holding a 20-minute workshop each day.

While we (my students, my co-teacher, and myself) loved having shorter bursts of reading workshop interspersed with our other classroom activities, I didn’t see the “green needle” move much from the center.  

In fact, it moved lower, with 43% of students reading the entire novel.

chart 60s


And because it’s my nature, I get reflective to the point of self-deprecation.
This bummed me out, especially considering last year’s data.

But one of my administrators reminded me this morning:  I can’t focus on the fact that the gains weren’t as large as I’d hoped they’d be.  What I need to focus on is the fact that my students made tremendous progress and gains in reading this year. 

Like, my kids read over 900 choice books and I’m obsessing over a pie chart?
I’m crazy.

I have a lot to consider and lots of changes I want to make in our workshop structure as we move forward next year.

Hopefully, we’ll make bigger gains that we did this year, but as long as we make gains, that’s worth celebrating.  





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