Matching Kids with Books: From Lexiles to Leveling Virginia State Reading Association March, 2008 Heidi Anne Mesmer, Ph D.
Without a good text-reader match, students: • will not learn to read. • will not advance. • will not be motivated to read. • will have different chances at life.
How do I make match? Purpose Text Reader
Reader Factors Purposes Instruction Beginning reading Fluency Guided reading Self-selected, recreational At-home Content area Science Social Studies • Reading Level • Attention • Memory • Motivation • Interests • Self-efficacy • First Language • Prior Knowledge • Print & Alphabetic
Text Factors Word Difficulty Sentence Difficulty Length of book Ideas & Concepts Topic Genre Organization Font Layout Spacing
Traditional Readability Formulas Second Generation Readability Formulas Beginning Reading Scaffolds Tools to Estimate Text Difficulty
Traditional Readability Formulas • Deliver grades & increments (2.3, 2.4) • Based on two text factors • Semantic/word complexity • Word lists (easy words) OR • Number of syllables • Syntactic complexity • Sentence length • Use at grade 2+
Web site: Intervention Central www.interventioncentral.org
Oleander Solutions Software www.oleandersolutions.com
Second Generation Formulas: Lexiles • Advances the traditional formulas by harnessing technology and creating more precise units • Breaks readability into Lexile units (L) • Books range from 200-1700L- • Based on two text factors • Semantic/word complexity • Word Frequency • Syntactic Complexity • Sentence Length
Second Generation Formulas: Degrees of Reading Power • Breaks readability into Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) • Ranges from 0-65 DRP • Based on two text factors • Semantic/word complexity • Words on Dale/Chall List • Number of letters per word • Syntactic complexity • Number of words per sentence
Lexile-Leveled Assessments • Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test • Iowa Test of Basic Skills • Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT-8) • Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) and SRI Interactive (Computer-based) • Stanford Diagnostic Achievement Test 9 & 10 (SAT-9/SAT-10)
Caveats • Estimate text difficulty • Know the formula. • Use with other subjective information. • Use with connected text.
Caveats • Formulas can underestimate difficulty. • Formulas can over- and underestimate difficulty of science and social text materials. • Be alert for formula-conforming changes that increase difficult.
Qualitatively Leveled Text Decodable Text Vocabularly-controlled/sight word readers Beginning Readers
Formulas won’t work with beginning readers • Texts are too short to get an adequate sample • Formulas lose validity at the lower levels • Formulas do not capture all that makes text difficult for beginners • Beginners need: • Very common words • Format adjustments • Orthographic simplification
Houses by Joy Cowley “By the red house there is. . . a blue house. And by the blue house there is. . . a pink house.. . And by the pink house there is. . .a yellow house.” FEATURES natural language predictability picture-to-text match high content words low word counts limited print/page Shorter sentences Qualitatively Leveled Texts Research indicates that levels do not include attention to word frequency or letter/sound complexity (Cunningham et al. 2005; Hatcher, 2 005)
The Lucky Duck (Modern Curriculum Press) “One wet, wet day a duck got stuck. A duck got stuck in the mud. A bug came and gave the duck a tug. The duck and the bug got stuck in the mud.” FEATURES words matching taught phonics words that are phonetically regular clustered and repeated single-syllable words (Brown, 2000, Hiebert, 1998, Mesmer, 1999) Highly Decodable Text
Decodable Text Research indicates that students apply letter sound information more in decodable text but that one-on-one tutoring with a strong phonics component makes them no different than other materials (Jenkins et al. 2005; Mesmer, 2001;2005)
Fishing On Saturday I went fishing with my grandma. Grandma and like to fish. We fish every Saturday. We like to go to the pond. FEATURES vocabulary controlled by the most frequently occurring English words repetition Vocabulary-controlled/Sight Word
An illustration Research indicates very few current materials possess this type of scaffold (Foorman et al, 2004) • Words are introduced and repeated throughout the set of books. • Repeated words are the most frequently occurring • Ex: Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 the the the see see see look look at at can • Use books in order.
By the end of first grade readers should be able to: Read: At about a 2nd grade level Have a reading vocabulary of 300-500 words (Snow et al. 1998) High Frequency words Decodable words (50 sounds/minute) Fluency: Read 40 words correct per minute (Hasbrouck & Tindale, 1997; Good & Kaminski, 2002) Vocabulary: Learn the meanings of 860 new root words (Anglin, 1993; Biemiller, 2005; Biemiller & Slonim, 1993) Comprehension Answer comprehension ?s based on text Predict and justify answers Discuss how, why, and what-if ?s (Snow et al. 1998) Phonemic Awareness: Segment (35 sounds per minute) (Good & Kaminski, 2002)
Major Reading strategies Memorizing Using syntax and semantics Using sight words Using some letter/sound knowledge Instructional Purposes At very early stages Voice-to-print match Concepts of word when readers know some letter/sound correspondences Pre and partial alphabetic Qualitatively Leveled Text
Highly Decodable Text Major Reading Strategies • Use letter/sound knowledge • blending • word by word • rely on sight words Instructional Purposes • scaffold letter/sound application • to follow phonics instruction
Major Reading strategies Relying on sight vocabulary Relying on repetition Using pictures Instructional Purposes to build sight vocabulary to build fluency at early stages Sight Word Readers
Teachers reportedly use some text types for specific purposes (Mesmer, 2006)
Class Text Organizer • Obtain Instructional and Independent reading levels • Organize the information to find texts for: • whole class (independent) • whole class (instruction) • novel groups • individual (reading workshop or recreational) • classroom library
Making Matches for SSR Student-driven choices require different considerations Reading Level Interests Genre Accountability Metacognitive skills in text choices
Reading level Books for ____________ • Label reading levels of books. • Stock collections based on reading levels of all. • Give students information about their reading levels. • Teach students the metacognitive skill of judging difficulty 5 or more? . . . the choice is poor
The difficulty meter • Rate the difficulty of the book from the hardest 10 to the easiest 1
Interests- ASK Current study of 2-5th grade boys book preferences. . . Animorphs, Bionicles, Pokemon, Star Wars, Captain Underpants, and Bone. Holes. Topics baseball, basketball, football, BMX, snowboarding, animals, how things work, jokes, and game manuals. Newspapers (55% v. 27%) Comics (64% vs. 40%) What students like to read isn’t in school (Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999)
Good SSR Practices (Kelly & Clausen-Grace, 2006) R5 • Read & Relax • Books ready • No getting up • Reflect & Respond • Rap
Best SSR Practices • Read & Relax • Books must be ready • No getting up (not a bathroom or water break, no chats with teacher) • Teacher circulates & supports • “State of the class” taken at the beginning • Reflect & Respond • Log: date, title, author, genre, and a brief response OR • Post-it: Your favorite part and a part that made you go hmmmm? • Rap • Share reflections with the class OR • Conference w/teacher
Courtesy of K. Dredger This Rocks! This Stinks! Students put books in this box that “stink!” Attach a post-it and tell why they didn’t like it. Rule: Have to have read the book • Students put books in this box that “rock”! • Attach a post-it telling why.