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The Role of Choice

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View video (7:16) using the following prompts to guide discussion:

  • What does author Jessie Chase mean that independent reading is not independent?
  • Unpack and discuss the implications of the recent quote from Fountas and Pinnell (discussed at 3:57 in the video):  “We created the levels for books, and not as labels for children…It is our belief that levels have no place in classroom libraries, in school libraries, in public libraries, or on report cards…We certainly never intended that children focus on a label for themselves in choosing books. “

Analyze the motives of books selectionsRead  “Select or Reject". Discuss the motivations for choosing a book and how book choices are influenced.  For a longer investigation about book selection, review Reutzel’s “Helping Children Make Successful Book Selections. 

Classroom Application and Observation Protocol:  Implement book choice/checkout (“Motivations for Choosing a Book”) and take note of what motivations students fall into (categorize motives). Use observation template to record and collect data on students’ choices. (Ex: Jennifer picks a book after    talking to a peer, Jessie picked a book that was displayed)

Analyze and Process Data: How did your students’ choices impact your  perception of them? How could students’ choice in your classroom impact procedures and routines around books? (ex: Book talks, collaborative climates at checkout – not a silent library, etc)

Action Step: Create an artifact/procedure in your room that creates system to capitalize on students’ choices and motivations.

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These tools were created as part of the Literacy Improvement in Rural Education through Collaboration (LIREC) project funded by the U.S. Department of Education