Dec/ January 2010, Volume 2, Issue 1
Check Your Calendars!!
SDLA Legislative Day
Jan. 14, 2010
Jan. 15-19, 2010
2010 National African American Read-In
Read Across America Day
March 2, 2010
Teen Tech Week
March 7-13, 2010
PLA National Conference
March 23-27, 2010
Featured e-Resources of the Month
AncestryLibrary and HeritageQuest answer family trivia questions
Kick-off using Lexile measures in the library, classroom and at home
By Marta Lemke, Language Arts Curriculum Specialist for the Department of Education
Strong literacy skills are essential for success in school and in life. Teachers, librarians and parents can now use students’ Lexile® measures to connect them with materials that meet their learning needs and support the development of reading skills. A study conducted last spring linked a student’s Dakota STEP reading score with a corresponding Lexile measure.
The Lexile Framework® for Reading measures a student’s reading ability based on actual assessment, rather than a generalized age or grade level. What makes the Lexile Framework different from other measurement systems is that it uses a common, developmental scale to match a reader with books, articles and other resources at the right level of difficulty. The Lexile Framework was developed by MetaMetrics®, an educational measurement and research organization that creates scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.
Lexile measures are available for all students—from beginning readers to those at the post-secondary level. Lexile measures are represented by a number with an “L,” such as 600L. Students should read materials that fall within their Lexile range: 100L below to 50L above their Lexile measure. This is known as “targeted” reading and has been shown to support the most successful reading experiences.
Lexile measures are especially helpful in aiding struggling or reluctant readers. But advanced students also can benefit by using Lexile measures to select materials that expand their reading skills. To date, more than 115,000 books and 80 million articles have Lexile measures, and the number of resources with Lexile measures continues to grow.
When students read materials at their Lexile level, they will likely comprehend about 75 percent of the text. For maximum comprehension, students should select text just below their Lexile measure. To improve reading and comprehension skills, students should select text just above their Lexile measure. Readers may experience frustration when a text is more than 50L above their Lexile measure, or too much ease when it is more than 100L below their Lexile measure. Reading with ease is not necessarily a negative experience, though such an experience is less likely to facilitate reading growth.
As schools implement Lexile measures to foster student reading achievement and classroom practices, they should include parents and encourage them to use Lexile measures at home. Hosting a kick-off event in the school library is one way to accomplish this. Based on the popular Night at the Museum movies, schools can host their own Night at the Library during parent-teacher conferences and other school events.
Here are some items that could be featured during a school’s Night at the Library event:
- Book Baskets: Include books on classroom topics that span a wide variety of Lexile measures.
- Book Lists: Tailor lists to make connections with the classroom curriculum. Parents can use these lists at home.
- Student Rosters: Explain to parents how the student roster helps with book selection in the library.
- Scavenger Hunts: Show parents how to use Find a Book to select titles that match a child’s Lexile measure and interests.
- Life Connections: Provide parents with a lesson on how they can help children make connections between the books they are reading and their daily life. Also suggest opportunities for parents to read with a child everyday.
- Character Presentations: Encourage students to bring their learning to life, like the characters in the museum, by making presentations.
Districts can receive a roster of their students’ Lexile measures by contacting Marta Lemke, Language Arts Curriculum Specialist for the Department of Education, firstname.lastname@example.org. Students’ Lexile measures also can be determined by using conversion tables posted on the DOE Web site. Additional conversion tables are available for students in grades one through three who have DIBELS scores. For more information, visit the DOE’s Lexile Framework for Reading.
Online book group opportunity focuses on inquiry circles
The TeacherLibrarian Ning is starting on online book discussion group for school librarians and other educators. The first title selected is Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels.
For more information go to TeacherLibrarianNing: Inquiry Circles Book Group.
Improving Literacy grant provides professional development and resources
The librarians of Dupree, Timber Lake and Eagle Butte Upper Elementary schools are gleefully expanding their professional development opportunities and resources. By applying as a consortium under the grant-writing leadership of Eagle Butte’s Mark Peacock, the three Cheyenne River Reservation school libraries were awarded an Improving Literacy through School Libraries grant in the amount of about $286,000. So far those funds have enabled the librarians to attend the annual South Dakota Library Association Conference in Aberdeen and the American Association of School Librarians Conference held recently in Charlotte, NC.
All three of the school libraries have extended hours to provide services beyond the traditional school day. In the works are plans to update or enhance their automation systems. Purchases of new library materials have already been made, with more planned. Some of those purchases include library books, AR quizzes, digital Playaways, laptop and desktop computers (both replacements and additional units), digital cameras, TV sets and DVD players.
The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries funds allowed the librarians and their grant-writer to attend the recent AASL national conference - Gay Mraz, Peggy McLellan, Mark Peacock, and (not pictured) Marilyn Schweitzer.