Thursday, September 24, 2015

Planning: Feedback from Classmates

Based on my initial topic ideas, I received excellent feedback and suggestions from my classmates in our course's online forums.

One classmate, Amanda, is a former teacher and a current children's librarian in a public library.  She said, "As a former teacher, I hate most of those 'Reading Counts' programs that many schools have.  We have Accelerated Reader in this area and as a children's librarian, I constantly have parents and children coming to the public library and asking where the AR books are located.  They look at me like I am crazy when I tell them that almost all books are AR books, and no we don't arrange them by level.  I feel like having to read at a certain level and then take a quiz over it is actually discouraging kids from reading what they want.  How many times have I heard a child ask to read a certain book and the parents say, 'No, you can't read that, it's not at your level.'  As a librarian, sooo frustating!"

Another classmate, Ashley, currently works as a children's librarian in a public library.  She said, "I personally love the idea of looking into the lexile system.  Working at the children's desk, I am always being asked for books that are either a specific AR level, lexile, or guided reading.  I once had a student ask me for books that were around a 600.  So I did a search online for a list of books around that number and compared them with our collection.  The results were a picture book, an early chapter book, and a 400-500 page book from the general juvenile collection.  I don't quite understand how three books I would label as being for a preschool-kindergartener, a 1st-2nd grader, and a 3rd-5th grader could end up being the exact same level."

Another classmate, Jane, who also works in the children's department of a public library, confirmed these sentiments.  She said, "I dread it when kids approach me asking for books with a particular lexile.  Usually they will name several books that they are interested in, inquire if they are in their lexile range, and then I need to tell them, no they are not.  Often children go home with a book in their lexile range, but not a book they are eager to read.  It is frustrating."

Bolstered by the support of my classmates, I decided to focus my inquiry on lexiles.

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