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Here are three ways to ruin a good book:

  • Require students to answer questions at the end of every chapter. It’s been called “basalizing” a novel, and it really detracts from the literature being read. I don’t want to answer questions at the end of every chapter I read, do you? There are lots of other ways to gauge comprehension, so it’s okay to drop the worksheet style questions for each chapter. We can teach (and assess comprehension) from trade books without ruining the beauty of the writing.
  • Give students a book that is too hard or too easy for them to read. Rereading familiar books for fluency is an excellent strategy, but books used for reading instruction must be at a child’s instructional level, not their independent or frustration level.
  • Plow through a book despite the fact that no one is enjoying it. Whether it’s a read aloud or a book for reading group, continually take the group’s “temperature” with a book. A book that worked with last year’s class just might not work with this year’s group. I’m not suggesting that kids be allowed to abandon a book if it gets too hard or is on a topic they don’t enjoy. I just think there are enough excellent books out there that if something clearly isn’t motivating or capturing a child’s attention, steer him in a different direction.

What would you add to this list?

About the Author

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Publication Date
May 23, 2010