Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Reading Levels

Reading A-Z

My school has been using Reading A-Z for a number of years. It is a useful way of tracking students' reading and comprehension as they progress through the different classes. The lower level books begin at A and are suitable for students in the first grade. Each level becomes increasingly more difficult all the way up to Z, which would be around fifth grade, depending on your school system. Reading A-Z provides this correlation chart for parents, teachers and students in order to keep track of the individual's progress. It is important to note that this system is designed for students whose first language is English. The chart also contains the Lexile index range for each book. This is a scale educators use to determine the appropriate reading age of a book for a child. It is particularly useful when buying books as gifts!

Running Records

Running records serve two main purposes:
  • They are used to match students to books that are written at their instructional reading level.
  • They are used to determine whether or not students are ready to exit their current levels and move to the next ones.
Reading Groups

Perhaps the most useful teaching tool I have gained from the Reading A-Z program has been reading groups. During these times, I will divide my class up into groups of four to five students. I will then assign the same book to each student in the group. The books are as near to the child's reading level as possible. I then have the students read a page of the book each until the book is finished. After they have read the book, I will have a retell activity or a discussion on the story. 

I hope this is useful to somebody out there!

High School Youth Retreat

High School Youth Retreat

Last weekend, my wife Kirsten and I took twenty-two high school students on weekend retreat. We went to the beautiful countryside of Hoa Binh, about two hours southwest of Hanoi. We left Hanoi on Friday evening after school and travelled by bus to Hoa Binh. Our friend, Michael Ong from Tea Talk, came along and taught the group on Friday night. Michael spoke about community and the need to work together. He also had us play a fun game where we were required to work together to solve a problem.

Saturday was a lot of fun with some more teaching in the morning before games of frisbee, a walk through the nearby creek, a buffet and a bonfire. The students then led a worship session for two hours that night. It was excellent; under the stars, away from the city, connecting with the LORD, surrounded by his creation. 

The highlight of working with this group for me has been seeing the students learn to lead Bible studies and develop into leaders. I am always so proud when I see them lead studies and step out in faith in order to help others. This trip was very much an inreach event where we grew stronger as a group. The next step will be another outreach event where we can go out and serve our community.