Friday, July 14, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: Librarians Take Reading Level Stand

CURMUDGUCATION: Librarians Take Reading Level Stand:

Librarians Take Reading Level Stand

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One of the weird little sideshows of modern ed reform has been an unhealthy preoccupation with reading levels. What lots of folks heard Common Core say was that we had to lock students in to their lexile reading score level (whether the Core said exactly that or not is another debate, That in turn has triggered a resurgence in programs like Renaissance Learning's dreadful Accelerated Readerincentive program. Read more books! Answer more quizzes! Learn more points! And always-- always-- pick books based on the reading level and not based on, say, whether or not you find it interesting.

Yes, please

There's a lot to argue about when it comes to reading levels. These generally based on mechanics, in keeping with the whole philosophy of reading and writing as a set of context-free "skills"-- it assumes that how well you read something has nothing at all to do with the content of what you're reading. Lexile scores, the type of analysis favored by the Core fans, works basically from vocabulary and sentence length. That has the advantage of being analysis that a machine can do. It has the disadvantage of providing ridiculous results. Ernest Hemmingway's novel The Sun Also Rises is at about the same lexile score as the classic Curious George Gets a Medal-- third gtrade-ish. Meanwhile, Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse V may have PG-13 language and situations, but it also has a fourth grade-ish lexile score. And none of those works rank as high as Mr. Popper's Penguins.

So there's a great deal to dislike about the whole business of assessing reading levels, but the American Association of School Librarians (a subgroup of the American Library Association) has 
CURMUDGUCATION: Librarians Take Reading Level Stand:

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