Literacy solutions for struggling readers (Hi/Low Fiction and the Common Core)


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In order to reach struggling readers, teachers and librarians need to be responsive and adaptive. Additionally, the Common Core asks that students are comfortable with a wide range of text formats. In this free, hour-long webinar, representatives from Orca Book Publishers and Saddleback Educational Publishing will offer Common Core-linked suggestions for sharing high-interest fiction with struggling readers, as well as solutions that can work in multiple formats, from print and audio to multi-user ebooks and digital reading aids. Moderated by Booklist’s Books for Youth editorial director Gillian Engberg.

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Literacy solutions for struggling readers (Hi/Low Fiction and the Common Core)

  1. 1. Literacy Solutions for Struggling Readers Orca Book Publishers, High-Interest Fiction and the Common Core
  2. 2. Why this webinar? Because the implementation of the Common Core State Standards – while positive in many regards – is likely to increase the burden on teachers and librarians and there is the potential for struggling readers to be underserved.
  3. 3. Implementation Issues The standards address discrepancies in achievement that exist across the country. However, early testing results coming out of NY and California are indicating that CCSS standards are expanding the achievement gap. In particular for those struggling with reading - including English Language Learners. (For more on this The Atlantic article at:
  4. 4. The reader and the task. What does this mean for struggling readers?
  5. 5. How to reach struggling readers The Common Core asks that students are comfortable with a wide range of text formats. Teachers and librarians must be responsive and adaptive in providing text suggestions for sharing high-interest fiction with struggling readers, as well as solutions that can work in multiple formats, from print and audio to multi- user ebooks and digital reading aids.
  6. 6. What are the main ways for ELA teachers to meet the CCSS • more reading in class, • more trade books incorporated into classroom activities, • more independent reading • a wide range of formats in the classroom, i.e., graphic, digital, audio, fiction, non-fiction • more time reading non-fiction in conjunction with fiction.
  7. 7. That’s kind of obvious isn’t it? The standards don’t require ELA teachers to change classroom materials but rather to change how they use them, with more emphasis on text analysis. The standards are intended to guide teachers to be purposeful and strategic in both what to include and what to EXCLUDE in instructional materials. The standards shift the focus away from literacy instruction to center on careful examination of the text. The point of reading is for students to draw knowledge from the text; reading well means getting the maximum insight or knowledge possible from the text. And, a student’s knowledge is demonstrated when she uses evidence from the text to support a claim about the text. Often several CCSS standards can be addressed by a single rich task, which means that existing teacher’s guide material can easily be readapted to be more CCSS friendly.
  8. 8. So, what’s the problem? The Common Core does not recommend books for students reading below grade level. And while teachers are expected to match reader to text, it is a real challenge for teachers and librarians to find age-appropriate, level- appropriate materials.
  9. 9. However… The goal of having all students reading on grade level is often misunderstood, i.e., that all students must read at level all the time. This is impossible for anyone. As they have always done, teachers must assess students reading abilities and offer a diversity of text so struggling readers won’t be stigmatized.
  10. 10. More… • Be subversive. Talk about other books when doing a novel study; introduce other books by the author; run lunchtime and after school reading/book clubs; create a classroom library. • Be selective. There is no approved list. Teachers still need to find the material. • Be supportive. Teachers need books to LADDER UP, with books that support scaffolding skill development particularly in high school – theme, characters,
  11. 11. And… • Teachers need “Context text”, i.e., more accessible, engaging text that explores the same THEMES as “Fulcrum text” e.g., Appendix A exemplar texts. • Students reading below grade level need supplementary opportunities to read text they comprehend successfully without extensive supports. Teachers need to provide shorter, challenging texts and additional materials for independent reading.
  12. 12. Technology Tech use is growing in schools. More and more tablets in use - also, students demanding materials for their own devices, The majority of parents support digital learning as a 21st century necessity, Even with the disparity in tech resources digital use will continue to grow.
  13. 13. EBooks • E-books are seen by many librarians as an effective way to get books into the hands of readers – particularly struggling and reluctant readers • Kids like e-books – more interactive, like portability, ease of access, anonymity – don’t have to go to the library, middle school kids requesting books to read on their phones. • What works in the home is migrating to schools. • Librarians want ease of access, simultaneous use, multi-user etc. • ALA leadership is in discussions to standardize e-book delivery
  14. 14. Audio • Educators championing use of audio books and print simultaneously with struggling and emerging readers. • Audio books to be read with print books, i.e., recordings offering multiple voices/ actors. Huge appeal to students and teachers. Kids have print book in front of them while listening.
  15. 15. Additional Resources Educators across NA are increasingly sharing resources online for free or for a nominal fee. Teacher-created materials can be very useful in seeing what is working elsewhere. Pinterest is very popular with teachers to access info, share resources.
  16. 16. The bottom line… To implement the Common Core and to reach those who may be left behind, teachers must put more books in more kids’ hands. How?
  17. 17. Set the stage for success Build classroom libraries. (print, digital, audio) Fund school librarians and provide them with an annual budget for books. Differentiate instruction. Encourage independent reading, summer reading programs, school-wide reading programs.
  18. 18. Got books? • In all formats. • In whatever way appeals to struggling readers to get them on task. • We have books. (thanks for asking!)
  19. 19. Orca Soundings are teen novels for reluctant readers. These short, high-interest novels have compelling characters and linear plots, and are written by bestselling authors. Many titles available in Spanish and all available electronically.
  20. 20. Books struggling readers want to read. Orca Soundings have been published for more than 10 years and they continue to be popular with almost 100 titles and 1.5 million copies in readers hands.
  21. 21. • Middle-school fiction for reluctant readers. • Reading level grade 2.0-4.5 • Interest level – middle school
  22. 22. Other series… Orca Sports, Sidestreets and Rapid Reads. Lots of titles to tempt readers, all written at a lower level but with compelling, well-written stories.
  23. 23. Additional Resources • Comprehensive teachers’ guide available on CD, as a bound book, or free as digital downloads from • Teacher-created and designed to take the guesswork out of reaching those struggling readers. • Includes information on how to use the books in the classroom, facts about reading levels, curriculum connections and themes.
  24. 24. ORCA PREMIUM DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS The best digital resource for struggling readers. Why?
  25. 25. Because the best books will always be on your shelves. With unlimited multiuser access, you can recommend any book to any student knowing that they can start reading right away.
  26. 26. Because struggling readers can use the online dictionary.
  27. 27. Because they can check pronunciation The online reader has a text-to-speech Read Aloud function that is perfect for struggling readers who need a little extra help.
  28. 28. Because they can take their book anywhere. Orca Digital Subscriptions include download lending as well as online reading. Students can load ebooks onto their devices – including smartphones – or they can access the bookshelf from a home PC.
  29. 29. You’ll always have enough books. • No more juggling tight budgets to come up with fresh material for literature circles. • Two teachers want to read the same book with their class? No problem. • And with Complete Collections of our most popular series you’ll get new FREE titles twice a year.
  30. 30. You’ll know what they are reading. With the help of our user-friendly usage reports.
  31. 31.
  32. 32. Because you can download MARC records.
  33. 33. Because you can have these great series:
  34. 34. And lots of other great books
  35. 35. Orca Premium Digital Subscriptions Ask for your free trial. Email:
  36. 36. Audio • Book Buddy Go Reader – a single-purpose MP3 player. • Popular hi/low stories, with unabridged, word- for-word audio. • Hear and read is successful with striving readers and works particularly well with supporting those with difficulties. • Excellent for scaffolding reading ability and comprehension.
  37. 37. Thanks for participating in today’s webinar! And to give you a start on reaching those struggling readers, we have five sets of high interest novels to give away along with a trial digital subscription. Email for a chance to win.