Question Detail

How do you pace for reading long and complex texts?

Jan 16, 2015 2:50pm

I'm wondering how other middle school/Jr. High ELA teachers pace and structure time when reading complex extended texts-i.e novels, biographies, etc. when all the reading must be done in class at school?
My students range from those who would be able to (and might) do some assigned reading at home, to those who are reading well below grade level and do not have the support at home to complete homework. Further, my school/district does not provide anthologies/paperbacks for at home use. When all the reading must be completed in class, my students become burnt out on the text. It leaves very little actual time for textual analysis and writing. Thanks.

  • English Language Arts
  • 8
  • Differentiation / Engagement / Planning


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    • Jan 18, 2015 3:01pm

      What about reading aloud in smaller groups in class? Then you could partner some slower readers with faster readers and find a middle ground.

      • Jan 24, 2015 1:36pm

        What about audio versions? Ss could be listening as they follow along. Your scenario sounds like a nightmare. It must take forever to get through a book. Grouping students as has been suggested works well. Are you able to set analysis for homework on a short section, even a paragraph that you could copy for the ss? Perhaps you could start the lesson with discussion of the homework before reading. Perhaps you could also break up the reading of the novel. Perhaps spend a few weeks on it, (sort of serialise it...leave the kids begging for more) do something else before returning to it.

        • Jan 24, 2015 2:09pm

          I am a literacy specialist for an elementary school and I am so glad that you posted this question. Currently, in our school district, we purchased a reading program recently and the 6th grade teachers in particular do not like to use this program, they prefer whole class novels. The problem is, like you are seeing in your situation, this book is not at a level in which ALL of your readers can read it and benefit from it. The lower level readers can't read at reasonable pace since most likely they don't have the vocabulary and decoding skills to do so. Although you are discussing this in a group and hopefully they are building their comprehension skills just from hearing the discussion, I am just not sure it's in their best interest. Could you possibly have two different books, one that you are using on level, and the other at a lower level with the same theme so that it can be a discussion amongst two groups? Perhaps even have a few of your lower, on- level readers in with the lower reading group as well, so they can benefit from taking their comprehension a little deeper and leading the discussion. I am curious to hear your thoughts on this as I am not familiar with the flexibility in the middle school. Additionally, I would like to add one more thing…. research shows that students need
          to read at an appropriate level in order to build their reading skills. It seems from what I hear from teachers in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade that this not taken into consideration as much as it is in the elementary school. Why is that?