Realizing Rigor Realistically: Navigating the Shifts with Struggling and Reluctant Readers Ashlee Gruno, Ed. S.Academic Coach Beth Lee, Ed. S.Lead ELA

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Brooks County Middle School PLC December 11th, 2013

Realizing Rigor Realistically:Navigating the Shifts with Struggling and Reluctant ReadersAshlee Gruno, Ed. S.Academic CoachBeth Lee, Ed. S.Lead ELA Teacher

Brooks County Middle School

Essential Question: How can educators really address CCGPS shifts in text complexity with struggling and reluctant readers?

What we expect from youYour attentionWe want to check our phones too, but we think this is more important!Your participation We know that you all have great ideas and energy to add to this discussion. Please engage. Your feedbackWe are learning as we go (arent all good teachers?), and we welcome suggestions, ideas, and input.

An Invitation to Engage Lets Get StartedIn the spirit of summer and vacations, please scan the room and choose and go to your favorite vacation destination.

Upon arrival, please read and discuss the quote. Elect one person to be your microphone to share out.

Now that we feel good, lets review Common Core Shifts for English Language Arts/LiteracyRegular practice with complex text and its academic languageReading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informationalBuilding knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

When the shifts and the new text bands came outTeachers were likeStudents were like

Want to make your own meme? Sometimes, we dont play fair...We forget that we are the expert readers. We were the Summer Reading Program kings and queensthe only ones to pass the pop quizzes over the reading homeworkthe kids who hid under the covers with flashlights to finish the last few chapters.

To put ourselves in our students shoes, lets do a quick activity.

Your Reading AssignmentRead the article on nuclear physics.Read and remember as much as you can in 5 minutes.Be prepared for a short assessment. This will be graded!

Three Steps to Realizing RigorThe simple truth is that many of our students are NOT ready or prepared to handle the demands of Common Core. As a teacher, we have to push them forward by creating a text-rich, supportive, and engaging learning environment. It IS possible and realistic to help your students become college and career ready readers! Find and choose the right texts and resources.

Scaffold learning and support your readers.

Engage your students, and make reading fun again.

STEP 1: Find and Choose the Right TextCommon Core requires complex text; however, complex does not equal long. We have had great success starting our year with short stories and news articles.

Short selections are engaging, complex, and short enough to complete. They also allow struggling and reluctant readers to gain the confidence they need to move forward.

For Example My 1st Year Teaching 8th Grade ELA CCGPSMy 2nd Year Teaching 8th Grade ELA CCGPSUNIT 1: Georgia Authors

Text: Members of the Wedding By Carson McCullersUNIT 1: Georgia Authors

Text: A Good Man is Hard to Find By Flannery OConnorEveryday Use By Alice WalkerUncle Remus Tales By Joel Chandler Harris

11STEP 1: Find and Choose the Right TextWe need access to rich, complex, appropriate text, and we need it quick and easy!

Here are some resources that we have found and used successfully

GALILEO (Comptons, SIRS Discoverer, Novelist, etc.)Newsela(web)ReadWorks (web)The New York Times Learning Network (web)Eyewitness to History (web)CobblestoneLeveled Texts Series (Shell Education/print)Find a Book Lexile ( and Lessons (print)Short Stories (We LOVE this genre!)Junior Scholastic and SCOPE (print/web)

STEP 1: Find and Choose the Right TextGALILEOExcellent resource; extremely underutilizedSupports college and career readinessPromotes using quality sources and citationsFeatures many databases and resources for on-level texts:BritannicaSIRS DiscovererNoveListMiddle Search PlusStudent Research CenterAnd many more!


NoveList K-8 (GALILEO)

Middle Search Plus (GALILEO)

Middle Search Plus (GALILEO)



STEP 1: Find and Choose the Right Text

WORK TIME!!At your table, please take a moment to browse one or more of these resources (technology or print).

Fill out the guided questions resource sheet.

Share your findings and reflections with your group.

STEP 2: Scaffold Learning and Support Your ReadersOur main job, year in and year out, is to lead our students up a ladder of challenge, building their stamina, and pushing them along to literature that requires more intentional thinking. But along that ladder, its also our duty to provide just the right amount of and type of support to keep kids progressing (Daniels & Steinke, 2013).

It is the teachers job to make complex text more accessible.The text is shorter rather than longer.The reader has chosen the text.The reader has relevant background knowledge.The topic has personal interest.The text evokes curiosity, surprise, or puzzlement.Factors that make complex text more accessible(Daniels and Steinke. 2013)

Factors that make complex text more accessible (cont.)The text has high coherence (it explains itself).The teacher teaches specific reading strategies.Readers can mark, write, or draw on text as they read.Readers are encouraged to talk about the text during and after reading.Readers can hear text read aloud. Readers have experience writing in the same genre.(Daniels & Steinke, 2013)

STEP 2: Scaffold Learning and Support Your ReadersAdditionally, all language teachers should have a working understanding of the fundamentals of reading education; often, secondary teachers lack this foundation, requiring us to brush up on our knowledge of the basic mechanics of reading.

We must figure our the missing piece for our struggling readers and adapt our instruction to serve them.

STEP 2: Scaffold Learning and Support Your Readers

The National Reading Panel describes five key building blocks of literacy instruction (2000); however, struggling adolescent readers have slightly different needs (Heller, 2008).

Grades K-3Grades 4-12Word StudyFluencyVocabularyComprehensionMotivationPhonemic AwarenessPhonicsFluencyVocabularyComprehensionSTEP 2: Scaffold Learning and Support Your ReadersWord Study: Show students how to break multi-syllabic words into recognizable partsGive students lots of practice reading and writing that defy spelling patterns (homonyms, homophones, etc.)Teach common root words, prefixes, and suffixes. Fluency:Read aloud to students (A LOT!)Show students how to read with expression/porosityHave students record and listen to themselves read Have students track their progressUse technology to aid fluency assessment (Dragon Dictation, Talk to Me, iPrompt, etc.)

STEP 2: Scaffold Learning and Support Your ReadersVocabularyVocabulary StrategiesMarzanos 6 steps (2004)DescribeRestateDrawRevisitReviseReview

ComprehensionBefore Reading (Frontloading Learning)During Reading (Guiding Comprehension)After Reading (Consolidating Understanding)

Step 2: Scaffold Learning and Support Your Readers Carousel Wrap-UpThis is not a presentation dedicated to scaffolding and strategies; however, we can not underestimate or ignore the necessity or power of these in instruction. Lets take about 5 minutes to move around and share some of our favorites.Please listen for your number, and follow the directions at each station.

Step 3: Engage your students, and make reading fun again.

RANT ALERT!!Wake up, people! Our students are bored. They dont want to read because we teach texts that are hard, old, and boring! We do all of the talking, and we still use worksheets and tired assignments and projects. Many of our readers are not struggling but reluctant. Change your classroom from teacher-focused to student-focused, and watch the transformation take place!

Step 3: Engage your students, and make reading fun again.

There is a 0% chance that children will learn from work they do not do.-Philip SchlechtyRealizing rigor is not just about the content. Its also about the environment you create. Adolescents want to work hard and do well. If you prepare an engaging, challenging lesson, your students will have a good time reading, analyzing, and learning from complex texts. Step 3: Engage your students, and make reading fun again.When 3 or more of these 8 qualities are present in a lesson, students will be engaged:

Personal responseClearly modeled expectationsEmotional and intellectual safetyLearning with othersSense of audienceChoiceNovelty or varietyAuthenticity (Schlechty, 2002)

Step 3: Engage your students, and make reading fun again.Emotional and Intellectual SafetyLearning with OthersStudents explain why/how their answer is plausibleStudents take risks with unpopular or more subtle answersSources, evidence, and examples are citedReasoning first, answers secondAnswers questioned or defended

Think, pair, shareLiterature CirclesSmall group discussionReciprocal teachingPeer revision and reviewOne talk, One repeatsWhen he/she talked about _______, I thought (Schlechty, 2002)Step 3: Engage your students, and make reading fun again.Personal ResponseClearly Modeled ExpectationsWhat it looks likeSupported predictionsOpinionsRemembrancesConnectionsComparisonsAnalogiesSummary StatementsStrategiesI thinkbecause..

Clear objective of activity and learningModels of expectation and strategyVisual exemplars that persistRubrics and self-assessmentClear formats and proceduresSourcesQuantity and quality required in personal response activitiesI includ