Independent Reading

Current plan: Sophomores will have 10-15 minutes Mon/Tues and Wed/Thurs for SSR. They can choose ANY book and must complete one and ??? with it/about it by the end of EACH semester.

Juniors will have 12-20 minutes Mon/Tues and Wed/Thurs for SSR. They will follow the 3 books recommendation at the bottom of this page and complete the writing assignment by the end of the school year. *I will provide checkpoints to prevent students from slipping. 2 of the books should be completed 1st semester to provide ample time 2nd semester to read the 3rd book as well as find time to write the paper.

NOTE: The first 10-20 minutes of class on Fridays (normally allocated to SSR) will go toward vocabulary instruction/activities.

For now, an accountability option I’m considering is a Think Pair Share after about 20 min of reading. Students would get UP and walk around, share what they had been reading about with 1 other student, I would randomly call on students to explain what the other person just told them they’d been reading about and the name of the book.  Hopefully this offers both accountability and advertising for other books.  Students would be able to choose any kind of book for this activity. Will need to create a LIST of these strategies as one is clearly not enough for an entire year! May include Ning in this. Or different reading strategies.

Here’s a functional approach from the author of English Companion books and creator of the English Companion Ning) Click here for more ideas from Jim Burke.

Overview        Whereas first semester you chose a topic and could read any kind of books you wanted to investigate it, this semester we will specifically read biographies, autobiographies, or memoirs that all have something in common. Last year, for example, one student read three biographies of influential leaders (Mao, Roosevelt, and Hitler). Another student, who loves animals and nature, read biographies or autobiographies Diane Fossey, Jane Goodall, and Rachel Carson. This semester we will choose three books that allow you to study the lives of people you find interesting and think are important. These people might be coaches, leaders in some field, historical figures, or people you respect. My hope is that you will accept this invitation to learn more about people you respect or find interesting and learn from their lives those lessons that you can apply to your own.

Standards        This assignment meets a variety of state standards, including:

  • Synthesizing content from several sources.
  • Reading a wide variety of materials independently.
  • Develop the main ideas of a composition through supporting evidence.
  • Synthesize information from multiple sources; identify complexities and variations in the information and the different perspectives found in each type of source.
  • Write expository compositions and responses to literature that marshal evidence to support a thesis.
  • Deliver expository presentations that include visual aids.

Requirement    This assignment asks each of you to:

  • Read three books that fall into any of these categories:
    • Autobiography
    • Biography
    • Memoir
    • Nonfiction book about a team or distinct group of people (e.g., The Nine, by Jeffrey Toobin, about the Supreme Court justices)
  • Choose books appropriate to your age and reading level. Each book should be a full-length, well-written, serious book (as opposed to a short fan biography).

Steps               Each of you must:

  1. Read one of these books each grading period.
  2. Bring your book each Tuesday and Thursday.
  3. Come to class at the end of the grading period having finished that book and write an essay about it.
  4. Give a presentation about the people you study in which you discuss their importance.
  5. Write an essay at year’s end that incorporates the three different books and shows your ability to write an effective essay about a subject (e.g., leadership) using details and evidence from multiple sources.

(complements of Jim Burke)

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