An Interview with Jennifer Serravallo
Sam Bommarito and Glenda Nugent
Co-Editors of The Missouri Reader
explores variables on what impacts levels. A child’s level might be different on different days. Level as recording tool has gotten out of hand and misused. Do not limit child to reading only books at their level. The reasons for saying this are explored in book starting on page 15.
Once a book at the appropriate level is chosen for instruction, how do you know what strategies can best be taught?
Text level range is one aspect of that choice. Text features, complexity, challenge are additional things to consider. Pinpoint skills/goals children need to work on. Ask yourself, within books, where does the student need support? Character, vocabulary, theme - narrow down possibilities by determining categories of skill/strategy need.
One way to organize groups is to organize them around texts: similar instructional level; Determine what they have in common.
Another way to organize groups is to organize them by goals group by goals. For instance, if you want to emphasize character development - bring together a group around that topic, even if its members are on different levels.
Can you explain how teachers can use the two-page spreads in your book Understanding Text and Readers?
Parts 2 and 3 are designed so the information about a level or skill. The fiction section is organized by 4 categories Plot, Character, Vocabulary, Theme. Look for the spreads starting on page 54 that show progression of skills. There is a separate spread for each level J through W. Included are page spreads that show student work to see how the skill changes in response to the text. Text level helps teachers understand books in their library - They can compare their student responses to those in spread. This can give teachers a sense of what questions to ask about a book during conferencing, even if the teacher has not read that particular book. The non-fiction section begins on page 116 and gives a similar analysis based on the
categories Main Ideas, Key Details, Vocabularies and Text Features.