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did you cee this -- American High Schoolers not reading at high level


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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/top-reading_n_1373680.html#slide=more216633

 

and not ready for college reading?

 

"The single most important predictor of student success in college is their ability to read a range of complex text with understanding," Coleman writes. "If you examine the top 40 lists of what students are reading today in 6th–12th grade, you will find much of it is not complex enough to prepare them for the rigors of college and career.

 

how do you make sure that you challenge your students enough?

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Where we used to live a high school closed. The majority of students were entering 9th grade at a 6th grade reading level. Instead of dealing with the issue, they farmed out the students to other schools and shut down the low performing school. I didn't do much follow up, but I can't imagine those students were in any better situation, they were just dispersed. I hope they got the intervention treatment they needed, yet I can't imagine going from an environment where you are at least matched with your peers to one where you are further behind would be motivational.

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I think that 'high school' covers years of intense development. There's nothing wrong with a 14yo reading Of Mice and Men or To Kill a Mockingbird. Both have worth beyond the relatively simple language and they are good starting points. The key is the development from there. Students should not still be reading Animal Farm by age 18, except perhaps in a politics course.

 

FWIW, Calvin's English course this year includes Milton, Pessoa and Shakespeare, but at the beginning of 'high school' he was reading To Kill a Mockingbird.

 

Laura

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One of the frustrations I had in teaching in an inner city elementary school was that a majority of our Kinders entered with a 2 yr old level of verbal skills-that is, most of these kids were still pointing and speaking in short, two to three word sentences, with a very limited vocabulary. I suspect a lot of it had to do with their average language model being Elmo.

 

By 6th grade, with a lot of hard work, we'd gotten a majority of them up to grade level-but the school was judged based on 3rd grade test scores, and by third grade, we hadn't gotten there yet. We'd started to close the gap, but in most cases, by 3rd grade, our kids were really only starting to put the pieces together and read, because while we'd been teaching phonics, they had to develop the verbal vocabulary to make comprehending anything beyond a Bob book make sense. So, we were deemed "low performing" because our 3rd graders weren't on grade level yet, even though they'd been making more than a year's worth of gains every year. However, there was another side to that. I'm SURE our kids were WAY behind suburban schools, even at 6th grade, in anything but math and reading, because content area knowledge in other subjects was sacrificed on those two altars. So even though they wouldn't have been entering high school way behind in reading, they weren't on level everywhere else, and I'm guessing would have still struggled in grades 7-12.

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I think our whole culture needs to change. Adults don't read books. So kids don't have that modeled or encouraged, so why would they?

 

1/4 of the adult population in the US didn't read a single book in 2006: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/21/AR2007082101045.html. And that was UP from 2004! Probably Harry Potter pushed that average up through the roof. According to that article, the average number of books people reported reading was 4.

 

I compare that to when I lived in the UK, and there are wildly popular TV shows about "the books everyone should read" and reading is actually part of popular culture. It's just a totally different attitude.

 

It's a cycle. I don't think that schools can totally change the attitude that many children get at home that books are boring, or a waste of time. So I don't know what the answer is. So many Americans seem really happy and content in their ignorance, and even brag about how little they read.

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I don't know about some of their reading level scores - Of Mice and Men is 'easier' than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? And Lord of the Flies is a fifth grade book? I TOTALLY agree that Twilight, The Hunger Games, and such should not be considered high school level academic reading, but their rating system really seems skewed - Elie Wiesel's Night is a 4.8, while The Lightning Thief is a 4.7? Are they looking at JUST the reading level, the words used and sentence structure employed? Because content-wise, there is no way on EARTH I would give Night or Lord of the Flies to a fifth grader unless I wanted them to have nightmares! I wouldn't consider giving either of those to my 7th grader - we're just starting to touch on difficult content later this year when we read To Kill a Mockingbird and Red Scarf Girl, but Night and Lord of the Flies are way beyond those in content.

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We follow the type of reading plan described in TWTM. Their reading gets progressively more difficult. They read classic books in junior high and high school.

 

:iagree:

We model reading. We have a house full of books. The kids have rooms full of books. I read to them a lot when they were little. We talk about books. We listen to audio books (great for expanding vocabulary, and a good way to get reluctant readers to pick up a book!)

My 15 y/o is reading Shakespeare plays for recreation, so I am definitely not concerned about her reading abilities.

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I have to say, even if I were a die-hard public schooler, if my high schooler brought home a Nicholas Sparks book, or "A Child Called It," or even "The Giver" (which is one of my all time favorite books, fwiw... for about 6th grade), I would be googling into this whole newfangled "homeschooling" thing.

 

Sparks and Peltzer might be fun guilty reads (assuming you're reading Peltzer as the hack liar which he truly appears to be), and I am all about supporting fun guilty reads. But those books lack any sort of literary merit. Particularly since in most schools they usually only read 4-5 books per year.

 

The Great Gatsby, Night, and Animal Farm, if read for a history class, are the only books on there I would consider appropriate for high school. To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men for remedial 9th graders. The other ones are either perfectly fine junk reads in your own spare time, or excellent selections with literary and cultural merit for middle schoolers.

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how do you make sure that you challenge your students enough?

 

Be honest about your choices in curriculum. Compare their reading level with other choices. Even if you know your children couldn't handle the other choices be aware that higher level do exist. Without awareness of that possibility you can't work towards it.

 

I've used only two big package curriculum over my +10 years of home schooling to do history/lit and I know what it means to love a company you deal with, but it helps to look every year and make sure there isn't something better out there.

 

I have had folks get very offended if I point out the lack of depth in a curriculum. Or try to defend it. I pointed out once that my fourth grader used the same book their high school curriculum did. Their response was to say the program used the book differently than mine did. But in truth my high school student was using books with more depth and information in then than their high school student was and that's a real gap. (Made worse by the company in question by use of historical novels rather than real lit.)

 

Even here on these forums, there's a noticeable lack of the word rigor to compare offerings. That's not helpful. Rigor is something that can be compared and you as the selector of materials is the one in your home school responsible for being honest about what you are using and why.

 

And don't assume your children can't handle more depth. I think you will be shocked that students do want to read more deeply.

 

Does this mean that every child can work at the highest level of every subject? Certainly not. But have a goal and work towards it.

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I don't know about some of their reading level scores - Of Mice and Men is 'easier' than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? And Lord of the Flies is a fifth grade book? I TOTALLY agree that Twilight, The Hunger Games, and such should not be considered high school level academic reading, but their rating system really seems skewed - Elie Wiesel's Night is a 4.8, while The Lightning Thief is a 4.7? Are they looking at JUST the reading level, the words used and sentence structure employed? Because content-wise, there is no way on EARTH I would give Night or Lord of the Flies to a fifth grader unless I wanted them to have nightmares! I wouldn't consider giving either of those to my 7th grader - we're just starting to touch on difficult content later this year when we read To Kill a Mockingbird and Red Scarf Girl, but Night and Lord of the Flies are way beyond those in content.

 

i think they are looking only at reading level -- not what age would be best to read the book. I agree LoF is not a 5th grade book; i found it distressing in 7th.

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I think our whole culture needs to change. Adults don't read books. So kids don't have that modeled or encouraged, so why would they?

 

1/4 of the adult population in the US didn't read a single book in 2006: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/21/AR2007082101045.html. And that was UP from 2004! Probably Harry Potter pushed that average up through the roof. According to that article, the average number of books people reported reading was 4.

 

I compare that to when I lived in the UK, and there are wildly popular TV shows about "the books everyone should read" and reading is actually part of popular culture. It's just a totally different attitude.

 

It's a cycle. I don't think that schools can totally change the attitude that many children get at home that books are boring, or a waste of time. So I don't know what the answer is. So many Americans seem really happy and content in their ignorance, and even brag about how little they read.

 

i know the state of "reading" is hard pressed these days -- but i find this odd -- i read 2 or 3 books a week -- even with 2 SN boys, homeschooling, working part time and the house ... the boys see me reading all the time. our house is full of books.

 

i guess i just worry my boys will miss the mark. :confused:

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While books like "The Hunger Games" and "Animal Farm" are easy reads, I do think high schoolers get more out of them than younger students. The authors' political points and views would probably be completely lost on a ten year old. A high schooler could see the parallels between the tributes and Roman gladiators, but a 5th grader wouldn't think of it.

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How does one go about comparing it though?

 

I think it is easier with lit than many things. For math and science I have to read, read, read and I have to find folks who know more about the subjects to see what they expect and what they say in reviews.

 

BUT with lit, start with the reading lists used. The forum is from a book: compare the reading list to what the book says. In particular look at amount and level. Lit is a lot more accessible than upper level math or chemistry in this respect.

 

After the book list, look at samples to see what they do with the books chosen. But there is some fudge in this area as some programs just give questions to the students to answer with few answers or direction to the parent so there is some balance in this area with your knowledge vs. a scripted answer. That's another thing too: the older a student the less you want scripted pat answers instead you want thinking and how the program helps you the busy parent can be key, but that is really method.

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While books like "The Hunger Games" and "Animal Farm" are easy reads, I do think high schoolers get more out of them than younger students. The authors' political points and views would probably be completely lost on a ten year old. A high schooler could see the parallels between the tributes and Roman gladiators, but a 5th grader wouldn't think of it.

 

Sure, but I don't think that's the right question. Would they get more out of more substantive works? Hamlet? Metamorphosis?

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If you click through to the report, you can see that they reporting on data in the Accelerated Reader Real Time database. That's it.

 

Our schools don't use this program, so I don't know the answers, but here are my questions:

  • Do high schools use this program with all their students, or are the results skewed because the advanced students don't use the program?
  • Do kids who use the program use it to enter all of their reading for the year, or do they just need to include X number of books?
  • Do kids who use the program include books they are assigned to read in English class, or only their free reading?

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While books like "The Hunger Games" and "Animal Farm" are easy reads, I do think high schoolers get more out of them than younger students. The authors' political points and views would probably be completely lost on a ten year old. A high schooler could see the parallels between the tributes and Roman gladiators, but a 5th grader wouldn't think of it.

 

I agree, but I think a middle school student would certainly be able to participate in that level of discussion.

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Frankly, college is not meant to be for everybody. It is meant to be for the top 15% or so. The study is not saying that realistically college bound students are reading at a 5th grade level, but that *average* high school students are reading at a 5th grade level. There is a huge difference.

 

That said, I don't think that high schools are doing a very good job educating anybody. If you look at achievement scores, they stagnate in high school. But this idea that everyone (or even 50% of everyone) should be college ready by the end of high school is idiotic and unrealistic.

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I detest the way our district handles elementary reading. All my dc were natural, early readers. They spent hours of free time every week reading. Yet, the elementary schools would turn reading into a chore. Reading logs, AR tests, weekly baggie books (that were utterly boring & way too easy), book reports. I told more than one principal that my kids would not do this *required* reading because it was killing their natural love of reading.

 

I think this might be true even for kids who struggle with reading. Many schools focus so heavily on it that it feels like a chore, something to dread. Reading doesn't click for everyone at the same age. By the time it does, some kids have been beaten over the head with it for so long they are not interested anymore.

 

Then there's SR (silent reading). In middle & high school, students are required to always have a reading book with them. Oh, you thought we would learn science in science class today? Nope, it's silent reading day. One of ds's (English) teachers scolded him for reading a magazine - a non-fiction, no-ad history magazine, with high quality stories. Captain Underpants? OK. Cobblestone History Magazine? Not allowed.

 

Mostly, I let my kids read what they're interested in. Sure, ds overloads on sci-fi / fantasy. Dd loves history books. Occasionally, I will suggest a book that I would like for them to read. One that is out of their comfort zone. Sometimes they bite, sometimes they don't. I try not to force a certain book on them, but give other options.

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I hear all the time from teachers, parents, friends, etc., "Who cares what [fill in name] is reading as long as he or she is reading?" So maybe no one is concerned about the level of reading.

 

And are these books on the list fun books or assigned books in the schools? Have you taken a look recently at those summer reading lists? There are books on there I would not read.

 

My friend's daughter did a whole year of Greek literature through Kolbe Academy during 9th grade and do you know how many people thought she need to "lighten" her reading? She also did the Roman literature in 10th grade and people said the same thing.

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For what it's worth, many years ago my father was working on getting some of his work published I remember several times hearing him grumble about how he had to keep shortening his sentences and trying to think of smaller words that would express his intended meaning because the publisher required that publications intended for adults in the general population must be no higher that a 5th grade reading level. (Dad was accustomed to writing on a more technical level to an audience of scientists.) Evidently, a 5th grade reading level was considered industry standard.

 

Which is to say, I don't think this is anything new.

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Mostly, I let my kids read what they're interested in. Sure, ds overloads on sci-fi / fantasy. Dd loves history books. Occasionally, I will suggest a book that I would like for them to read. One that is out of their comfort zone. Sometimes they bite, sometimes they don't. I try not to force a certain book on them, but give other options.

 

:iagree: This is how we handle reading for the most part (other than reading that is required for literature/theology/history, although I do try to find books they would find moderately interesting.) I have a challenge list with other books that aren't the type they might normally choose as well (there are rewards that go along with this, from money to treats). This seemed like a simple way to encourage them to read something other than Star Wars novels (oldest), and formulaic Christian books targeted at youth (DD). So far, standardized-test wise, this seems to be working. My oldest's CAT scores mirror mine from his age, although I read quite a bit more than he does...

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Umm, I'm teaching 9th graders now - low level learners, but not learning disabled. We started to read a 6th or 8th grade version of a classic and NONE of the kids knew what a port town along a river or frontier were... and this is just from today. I could max out the text on here with examples. They can read words, but the vocab (or lack thereof) shocks me.

 

I blame a bit of it on their background. So few have been anywhere or done anything outside of video games or other "local fun" things. It made me want to have a gazillion dollars so I could take them on educational field trips.

 

IF they could read and understand Lord of the Flies or The Great Gatsby I'd be thrilled (esp if it were the original writing instead of an easier one). But we're nowhere near there.

 

My own Honors level 10th grader would have assigned to read Spud for his class but I pulled him from it (due to the book level) and had him do their alternate option (Keystone online - it wasn't any better). This year for 11th College Prep Honors he had The Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, O Pioneers, and Huckleberry Finn (original version).

 

And since returning to ps (in 9th grade) his standardized test scores for English have dropped from 99th percentile (tippy top) to around 65th percentile (average for top kids from my high school). I'm definitely frustrated... but this son won't homeschool and we don't have other options. He's thrilled that he's quite near the top of the top in his graduating class and the other kids tend to consider him a genius. I'm resigned that this is the life he's choosing, but it definitely frustrates me.

 

In my next life I'm going to be certain we settle down in a place with GOOD options for schools. We like everything else about our area and my older two loved homeschooling, so it all worked. With youngest? Ugh!

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If you click through to the report, you can see that they reporting on data in the Accelerated Reader Real Time database. That's it.

 

Our schools don't use this program, so I don't know the answers, but here are my questions:

 

  • Do high schools use this program with all their students, or are the results skewed because the advanced students don't use the program?

    Some teachers use it more heavily than others. Some turn it into a competition for most "points." In our district, it is mostly used as an incentive program for elementary students. Middle & high schools used it more sparingly, maybe for the lower level reading students.

     

  • Do kids who use the program use it to enter all of their reading for the year, or do they just need to include X number of books?

    Generally, kids are supposed to earn a certain number of points per year. Longer books, higher reading levels = more points. Points are pro-rated based on the number of questions you get right.

     

  • Do kids who use the program include books they are assigned to read in English class, or only their free reading?

    This is very frustrating! Our district used it for free reading. However, there are many, many quality books that might not have a corresponding test. Or, there is a test, but the district hasn't paid for that particular one. In order to accumulate points, you have to reduce your free reading to what tests the district has paid for.

 

.

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Sure, but I don't think that's the right question. Would they get more out of more substantive works? Hamlet? Metamorphosis?

 

I think they'll probably get more out of the substantive works if they've practiced the concept of critical analysis on more accessible books. I can easily see The Hunger Games, for example, as being one of the first books read in a high school level lit class, to generate enthusiasm and serve as a bridge to more substantive works. But the bridge has to go somewhere :)

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And since returning to ps (in 9th grade) his standardized test scores for English have dropped from 99th percentile (tippy top) to around 65th percentile (average for top kids from my high school).

 

 

 

Since pulling my dd out of ps to homeschool, her reading standardized tests scores have gone up from 40 percentile to 85 percentile.

 

PS vs. Homeschool makes a huge difference. So sorry you had the opposite turnaround with your ds! My ds is in public high school. I have been gently working on him (and dh) to pull him out, too. (DH is still not convinced that a homeschooler can be accepted into a top notch college...but I'm working on that!)

 

The interesting thing is, I don't do any type of specific reading/comprehension program with dd. Hours a day were devoted to that in ps. Now, her reading/comprehension comes from discussing science, or history, or whatever book she happens to be free reading. A solid writing program also works wonders for reading comprehension.

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Our local high school has had a sign on its front door for at least 3 years. It proclaims its goal for the students: They will be reading at grade level by 2016.

 

The school has 3 levels of classes. In the two lowest, teachers read the assigned books aloud to the class! They do this because the students are unable to read them. I know this because I asked.

 

Is this the school system's fault? Not entirely. They teach the students they have and the old saw that you can lead a horse to water comes to mind. Those students and their families, by and large, are not interested in reading. The kids don't own books, they don't go to the library, they don't read ... they spend their free time playing video games, drinking, doing drugs, having s*x, and talking about all that.

 

My kids have reputations at the school for being Einsteins because they bring unassigned books to school to read when there is nothing else to do. My son's Kindle sparked a lot of interest at first because the students thought it was an iPad and that he could play games on it in class.

 

Yesterday was DS3's first day at the local high school. He sat at lunch with someone who was reading a book about physics. That was a first. My other kids have never seen anyone else read at school.

 

How do these kids graduate? I don't know. Cheating is rampant, but they have to pass state tests before they can graduate, unless they get a special ed diploma.

 

Anyway, I don't think it is the school's fault, primarily. The students don't want to learn or study and their families don't value education. They are all sitting ducks for proprietary schools to swoop in to get the proceeds from their student grants and loans. The combination of students who want a career (but not an education) and are not college material + the availability of funding = a ripe opportunity for these schools and, I daresay, for community colleges and universities, too.

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If you click through to the report, you can see that they reporting on data in the Accelerated Reader Real Time database. That's it.

 

This does put a different spin on it. I agree that these tests are rarely used for higher level students. Another chicken little article with no substance.

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Our local high school has had a sign on its front door for at least 3 years. It proclaims its goal for the students: They will be reading at grade level by 2016.

 

 

 

But what does it mean by "grade level"?

 

Does grade level mean that they will be at the 50th percentile or higher? Or does it mean that the students will be able to read grade level materials? Because to be actually achieving on level, a student needs to be scoring at roughly the 85th percentile on achievement tests.

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No one ever went broke writing hand-wringing articles about how dumb modern kids are. And in particular, the company that put out the "report" cited in the article sells reading-improvement systems to schools. Do you think maybe, just maybe, they have a vested interest in denigrating the reading high school students are doing?

 

There's more to literature than big words and baroque, intricate sentences. A book can be thematically complex and rich in literary devices while sticking to simple sentence structures and vocabulary; at least, that's what the Nobel Prize Committee thought about Hemingway and Steinbeck. By high school, the books discussed in class should be used primarily for literary analysis, not for decoding practice!

 

Remember George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language"?

 

I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

 

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

 

Here it is in modern English:

 

 

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

 

[...] Now analyze these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains forty-nine words but only sixty syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life. The second contains thirty-eight words of ninety syllables: eighteen of those words are from Latin roots, and one from Greek. The first sentence contains six vivid images, and only one phrase ("time and chance") that could be called vague. The second contains not a single fresh, arresting phrase, and in spite of its ninety syllables it gives only a shortened version of the meaning contained in the first.

 

Which sentence has a higher "reading level," and which one has greater literary quality? Who would be satisfied to have their child reading things like the second passage all day in school, because the first is supposedly too easy?

 

(Incidentally, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is "grade 8.1," according to Scholastic BookWizard. A Midsummer Night's Dream is grade 8.7. Would anyone quarrel with either of those being assigned in 10th or 11th grade?)

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Oh, boy. The Accelerated Reader metric really really devalues modern literature.

 

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying: 5.4

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises: 4.4

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls: 5.8

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath: 4.9

John Steinbeck, East of Eden: 5.3

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon: 5.0

 

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe the Nobel Prize was awarded to fourth and fifth grade books! Why don't they just award one to Beverly Cleary and be done with it?" :tongue_smilie:

 

...Or maybe there's a problem with letting a testing company's computer judge the quality of literature. It could possibly be that.

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Oh, boy. The Accelerated Reader metric really really devalues modern literature.

 

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying: 5.4

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises: 4.4

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls: 5.8

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath: 4.9

John Steinbeck, East of Eden: 5.3

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon: 5.0

 

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe the Nobel Prize was awarded to fourth and fifth grade books! Why don't they just award one to Beverly Cleary and be done with it?" :tongue_smilie:

 

...Or maybe there's a problem with letting a testing company's computer judge the quality of literature. It could possibly be that.

:lol:

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Oh, boy. The Accelerated Reader metric really really devalues modern literature.

 

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying: 5.4

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises: 4.4

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls: 5.8

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath: 4.9

John Steinbeck, East of Eden: 5.3

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon: 5.0

 

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe the Nobel Prize was awarded to fourth and fifth grade books! Why don't they just award one to Beverly Cleary and be done with it?" :tongue_smilie:

 

...Or maybe there's a problem with letting a testing company's computer judge the quality of literature. It could possibly be that.

For a point of reference, the Captain Underpants books range from 4.4-5.7 :D.

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Oh, boy. The Accelerated Reader metric really really devalues modern literature.

 

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying: 5.4

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises: 4.4

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls: 5.8

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath: 4.9

John Steinbeck, East of Eden: 5.3

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon: 5.0

 

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe the Nobel Prize was awarded to fourth and fifth grade books! Why don't they just award one to Beverly Cleary and be done with it?" :tongue_smilie:

 

...Or maybe there's a problem with letting a testing company's computer judge the quality of literature. It could possibly be that.

 

For a point of reference, the Captain Underpants books range from 4.4-5.7 :D.

 

I saw those crazy levels all the time when my kids were doing AR. It's pretty sad.

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Oh, boy. The Accelerated Reader metric really really devalues modern literature.

 

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying: 5.4

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises: 4.4

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls: 5.8

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath: 4.9

John Steinbeck, East of Eden: 5.3

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon: 5.0

 

This shows how meaningless "reading level" of a book is. What 5th grader is going to understand East of Eden? :confused:

In a sense I agree with you that, because of the themes discussed, books like Animal Farm and Of Mice and Men do have a place in high school and can not be adequately studied with much younger students.

 

But from talking to ps students and from seeing the curriculum posted on our local ps website, I would say that overall they do not read enough quality literature in high school. Our honors English class spends a whole period one "bring a book and work on your AR reading" each week- that's pathetic. A friend of mine teaches high school, and she is not allowed to give reading homework; they have to read everything aloud in class.

My DD's trainer is in her year of student teaching; her high school class will cover two whole books this year, one being The DaVinci Code.

Not only do they read too much fluff, but also too little overall.

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We follow the type of reading plan described in TWTM. Their reading gets progressively more difficult. They read classic books in junior high and high school.

 

This is what we did as well. When I was teaching in our co-op, though, I had quite a few moms who didn't want to put their students in my literature class because of the types of books the students would need to read. They informed me that their daughters preferred The Little House series and Jane Austen books. Seriously, I asked one mom to remove her daughter (a senior who had been a "top" student in the public school) because she obviously was not reading the material. The mom indicated that the daughter just didn't "get" the classics and would prefer not to be "haunted unto nightmares". Many of the young men in the class simply could not follow the flow of the books.

 

I think one really needs to lay the foundation for the "great books" early. It's awfully hard to move into them cold turkey.

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But what does it mean by "grade level"?

 

In a school at which the vast majority of its nearly 4,000 high school students are in the two lower levels of classes, and in which the teachers read the two assigned books a year to them -- sometimes the students read aloud, too -- I'd say that reading levels at the 85th percentile will not happen.

 

This school gives a lot of standardized tests, and they want all of the kids to pass at the basic level.

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This shows how meaningless "reading level" of a book is. What 5th grader is going to understand East of Eden? :confused:

In a sense I agree with you that, because of the themes discussed, books like Animal Farm and Of Mice and Men do have a place in high school and can not be adequately studied with much younger students.

 

But from talking to ps students and from seeing the curriculum posted on our local ps website, I would say that overall they do not read enough quality literature in high school. Our honors English class spends a whole period one "bring a book and work on your AR reading" each week- that's pathetic. A friend of mine teaches high school, and she is not allowed to give reading homework; they have to read everything aloud in class.

My DD's trainer is in her year of student teaching; her high school class will cover two whole books this year, one being The DaVinci Code.

Not only do they read too much fluff, but also too little overall.

 

I agree with this. Our local high schools read 4 books a year for English. I find that ridiculous.

 

With my kids, it has never been an issue. They were both early readers, and have both always been strong & voracious readers, despite one of them having Dyslexia. They have always read above grade level. So, our rule has always been that at least 50% of what they read has to be at or above grade level. That way, they are still allowed to read the books that would be of interest to kids their age, but are also constantly stretching themselves to read more challenging books. Considering both reached high school reading & comprehension levels in early elementary, I'm not at all concerned about their ability to handle college.

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I think the AR system is a joke. DS used it the last time he was in school. He couldn't read good quality literature for class credit if it was below a certain level (because he "tested" high enough) but he could read fluff work that happened to have bigger words in it. It was so frustrating. And non fiction books universally have lower point values than fiction, even though I think we'd all agree there's tremendous value in reading at least a few non fiction books.

 

I'm pretty sure that even if a 5th grader can read all the words in a Hemingway novel, that's NOT the intended audience. There is a big difference between able to understand the words, and being able to understand the themes and concepts of a novel.

 

And I really, really hope our area high schools are assigning Hemingway over Captain Underpants and Twilight... but from what I've seen I'm not holding my breath in some cases.

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Oh, boy. The Accelerated Reader metric really really devalues modern literature.

 

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying: 5.4

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises: 4.4

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls: 5.8

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath: 4.9

John Steinbeck, East of Eden: 5.3

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon: 5.0

 

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe the Nobel Prize was awarded to fourth and fifth grade books! Why don't they just award one to Beverly Cleary and be done with it?" :tongue_smilie:

 

...Or maybe there's a problem with letting a testing company's computer judge the quality of literature. It could possibly be that.

 

:lol::iagree: I'm not impressed and not at all worried.

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