Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Required Reading & Lexile Levels
I'm an avid reader ... my boys have NOT inherited this habit from me. Pretty much the only reading they do, is required reading. Silly boys! Books are AWESOME! While I keep myself pretty busy with the 500+ books waiting in my Kindle Cloud, and my mile-long library list, I'll often try to keep up with any assigned books the boys are reading for school.
My sophomore's Language Arts class was reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" ... it's one I have read before, but it had been a while. My 15-year old asked me to re-read it, so we could discuss it before class. Okay! We had two copies, but I'm a digital gal. Luckily I was able to download it from the library (I would have purchased it if needed, but love the library loan). We'd read a couple chapters, as assigned by the class. He and I would discuss what happened, and which words needed further definition. For example ... After reading chapter 11, we had a list of words. Wrathful, apoplectic, philippic, umbrage, interdict, tirade, cantankerous. After going over the definitions, my son said "well that was an ANGRY chapter, wasn't it?!"
My son would bring home his quizzes and show them to me. He ended up doing quite well, better than he expected. I enjoyed our book discussion times too. I'll admit, I got a little teary talking about some of the events there at the end.
I'd tried to read along with "The Scarlet Letter" last year with my #2, a junior. That book didn't quite keep my interest, and that child didn't engage in book conversations with me either, so I gave up on "helping" out. My 7th grader is starting up "Frankenstein" so I guess that will be on my list soon.
For the first reading assignment however, my 7th grader got to choose his own story, with the requirement that it be on their lexile level. Are you familiar with "lexile" levels? I'd heard them mentioned here and there along with the SRI testing. So my son and I spent a bit of time looking up books on lexile.com.
My son tested at 916 ...
He was supposed to select a book within a close range (850-950).
My guessing had been a bit off.
Longer, complex novels (in my thought, thinking of my 12-year old reading them, i.e. "Ender's Game" at 780, "Gregor the Overlander" at 630, "The Maze Runner" at 770) are too low. I was surprised by "Hatchet" (1020) and "Island of the Blue Dolphins" (1000)... two I really enjoyed but ones I don't think are over his ability at all. "To Kill a Mockingbird" as mentioned above, required reading for my sophomore, came in at 870. Just to make it MORE confusing ... "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" is listed as 950??? I do NOT understand this ranking system!
He ended up going with "The Great Brain" (840) ... it's a book I loved when I was young. I went ahead and reread it so I could discuss it as well. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in Kindle edition and had to read hard copy. Oh, the agony of a real book ... It was bulky and heavy(ish). I had to turn pages. Highlighting words required an actual marker. I had to turn on a lamp in the dark. Luckily, I made it through, and he made it through. Book report is done and turned in.
Ah ... school assignments. Required reading. I loved it back in the day!