May 7, 2008

Student feedback on reading

I asked for feedback from the students on their perception of FVR. Most of the comments I got were positive. Students can see how this is helping them learn, and a few mentioned that they enjoy being responsible for their own learning.

A few comments were about how boring the activity is. And then I had a handful that mentioned how it didn't help at all because if they didn't understand the word it looked like gibberish to them, and if they did understand the word, then reading it didn't help. Some students asked for permission to write down words they don't know while reading. Two students mentioned that there is a gap in my library - the novice books are too easy for them, but the lowest intermediate books are too difficult.

Although most were positive, I don't want to completely blow off the negative comments either.

I don't know how to address the perception that it is boring.

As far as unfamiliar words looking like gibberish, I can suggest that students go back to Novice Low books which are basically picture dictionaries. One word, one picture and all are concrete words so there is no ambiguity.

As far as writing down unfamiliar words while reading, my heart says no. The idea of Free Voluntary Reading, as I understand it, is to get reading and to read right past the words you don't know. To stop at every unfamiliar word will break up the pace and flow of reading.

The last comment is perhaps the hardest one for me to address, that being that the books are either too easy or too difficult. I've tried hard to balance the books on my shelves and I don't know where to find books to bridge that gap.

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