How to Pick a Just Right Book

Image from http://nettleslawblog.com/

Choosing the right book to read is a lot like reading a bike.

Too Hard! Just like riding a bike up a steep hill, these books are way too much work for children to read. Generally speaking, if there are five or more tricky words on any page, then the book likely is too hard.

Too Easy! Just like riding a bike downhill, these books can be read too fast. It’s fun but their brain is not learning as much as it should be.

Just right! Just like riding a bike on a trail, there are some bumpy parts, but not too many!

Matching a book with a child’s reading skill is an essential key to building a fluent, independent reader.

Why is it important to match books with a child’s reading skills?

When children are trying to reading books that are too difficult for their current reading level, they may resort to inefficient reading strategies such as:

  • skipping words,
  • guessing at words, or
  • their reading becomes slow, laborious or inaccurate, and
  • they won’t be building a good site word vocabulary, and
  • they may fail to understand or connect with the story or information.

Worst of all, they may become frustrated and discouraged with reading all together.

Children need a book that’s just right so they may practice good reading habits.

Just right books allow a child to read independently, accurately, and with understanding.

How to you know if the book is just right for a child?

Found on our-cool-school.blogspot.com

Found on our-cool-school.blogspot.com

The child needs to choose and read books appropriate for her age and interests. Another criteria for finding the just right book, not one that only holds the child’s attention, but allows the child to make very few mistakes while reading.

The rule of thumb is that there should be less than one mistake for every twenty words — which equates to about 96% accuracy.

When children make too many mistakes, it interferes with their expression, rate, and understanding.

Just right books provide practice for good reading at home and school.

We want children to choose and read just right books so they can practice good habits — reading accurately with understanding at an appropriate rate and with natural expression.

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What It Takes to Be a Teacher (Infographic)

Teacher Time Management Infographic

Created by Knewton and

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Draw Your Own Video Game with Pixel Press Floors

Got a quick message from a colleague @MissB4thGrade about a brand new (and free) video game making app called Pixel Press Floors. They just released the app April 30th. This was a perfect opportunity to get students buzzing about creating on a Free App Friday.

Edutopia’s Game Based Learning blog article “3 Ways Coding and Gaming Can Enhance Learning”:

“Coding isn’t just for computer science any more. Educators are finding that teaching students to write code and design games enhances learning and creates engagement… great teaching is at the very heart of this innovation.”

Online game creator, Jane McGonigal Ph.D., shares an ambitious claim about how gaming can save the planet:

Knowing that gaming can enhance learning, and that many of Miss B’s students would be keen to tinker with game building, I set wheels in motion and loaded iPads with Pixel’s Floors App from the App Store before kids came rolling into the lab.

Pixel Press Floors:

Pixel Press Floors Trailer from Pixel Press on Vimeo.

What is Pixel Press Floors? from Pixel Press on Vimeo.

The Sketch Guide is super student friendly, and after a brief tutorial, kids were designing their game terrain and adding creator elements with pencil and paper.

Download the Sketch Guide and Blank Sketch Sheet.

Designing game terrain.

Designing game terrain using pencil and paper.

Students discovered that by capturing their paper and pencil designs by taping their design to the wall allowed the Floor App’s capture tool to orientate and align the image more effectively.

Capturing game sketch and uploading.

Capturing game sketch and uploading.

I think the coolest feature of the Floors App is the capability for students to share their video games in Floor’s Arcade. A few students reflected that playing in the Arcade first before designing gave them more ideas for creating their own unique terrain.

If you think this post was helpful, please share. I would be keen to hear about how others are using Pixel Press Floors and/or other game-based activities.

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THINK before you post (social media)

I am having conservations with students about thinking about what they are posting when online. So I created a social media infographic using easel.ly to display in my classroom.

To enlarge click the infographic.

easelly_visual

THINK about how you use social media.

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My Earth Day Message (BitStrips for Schools)

Making the move from once living in the hot, humid tropical forests of Borneo to now riding around the flat, frozen lands of Kazakhstan has come with challenges. Unfortunately, the town I live in Kazakhstan has hardly any trees. Fortunately, speaking with a local Kazakh, I was told that ten years before there weren’t any trees in the city and now there are a lot more due to local initiatives to plant more trees.

What are you up to for Earth Day?

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Gamification of Education (Infographic)

Gamification Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

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The Flipped Classroom (Infographic)

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

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Blended Learning: Disruptive Learning (Infographic)

Are you blending learning these days?
Blended Learning Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Share if you care.

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SAMR Model Presentation

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Being a Connected Teacher: featuring the tools Twitter and About.me

What does your learning environment look like?

In the diagram created below by Professor of educational technology and media at the faculty of Education, University of Regina, Alec Couros (Twitter handle: @coursa), a networked teacher’s environment might look something like this:

Some rights reserved by courosa

The networked teacher’s environment is rich with many different ways to stay current and connected. There is much public talk these days that Twitter seems to be one of the better tools for building your personal learning environment and community.

In this presentation below I highlight the background, concepts, resources and steps to becoming a better connected learner and teacher. (Full disclaimer: Bits and pieces of this presentation are from Alec Couros’ Embracing Connected Learning workshop.)

If you found this presentation helpful, please share.

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