Thursday, November 20, 2008

Independent Novel Units


One of your most powerful tools for making an independent novel study unit a success is to acknowledge those students for whom reading is drudgery. One student I know amazed himself by reading his book in a single night when he tried the Two Bookmark Trick. Here are some simple tricks I use:

• The Two Bookmark Trick - If you have a deadline to finish reading a book follow this simple rule. Divide the number of pages in the book by the number of days you have to read. Use one bookmark to mark your target for the day. Use the second bookmark to mark your place. Most people find that they can easily reach their goal and often read beyond their daily limit. Setting the goal gets kids into the first 15 pages of their book and hooks them.

• The Flood Book - Someone in a course I took some years ago suggested that everyone needs a book with them in case they are trapped by a flood. Take the book everywhere you go. All those 5 minutes you spend in the car waiting while your mum picks up a quart of milk or drops off your sister could be spent reading.

• The 5 Finger Test - many students learned this in elementary school but need to be reminded of it. Open the book at any full page of text and begin reading. For each word you don’t know hold up a finger (They can do this in their heads if they don’t want to be too obvious). If you have 5 fingers up before you reach the end of the page then the book is probably not at your recreational reading level.

• The Fast Return - If you are not into your book within a day or two return it immediately and find something that grabs you. Remember the point of this is to hook kids into reading not turn them off.

• Your brain is like a muscle. The more you exercise it the faster it will process information.

1 comment:

Joanie said...


Thanks for coming over to comment on my blog. I really enjoy reading your comments and hearing what you are up to. Thanks for the Nixon/JFK bit. I really thought it was cleverly done. have you every read Stephen Downes stuff? His "Web 2.0 and your own learning and development is very sensible and addresses the life-long independent learning style we TLs need to adopt.

Glad to have Hazel joining us. She should do all the colour in purple and call it "Purple Haze" after her nickname.

I posted my new blog early for once (due on Monday) and am struggling to finish the last one so I am all done and can concentrate Sacramento's Marathon next week. Very sorry but I can't make it Monday because I have carpet layers coming in and several papers to finish.