Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Guy Books

Hello there,

This will not be one of my typical epistles because my goal is to create a blog of fewer than one million words - think I can do it? I surmise that very few people read my postings because no one has 3 days to devote to the effort! With that said, I shall introduce today's topic: Guy Books.

A high school teacher recently emailed me with a request for suggestions of books boys might be interested in. Working with a learning community population of 90% male students, she thought this might be a good idea. I was interested in fulfilling her request because I've attended conference sessions and also examined the latest literature about boys and reading. It seems that recent studies reveal that boys don't read as much nor do they enjoy reading as much as girls. Rather than summarize the reflections and research about this topic, I encourage you to click onto an excellent IRA article about this phenomenon: http://www.reading.org/publications/reading_today/samples/RTY-0408-boys.html.

This teacher not only asked for recommendations, she also requested books of about 200 pages that were on an 11th grade "Lexile Level," which ranges from 1100L to 1200L+. With those parameters in mind, I searched recommended book list sites as well as others I stumbled upon. The result is a lengthy list that includes "oldies but goodies" as well as recent publications.

I think you may be as surprised as I was when I saw the Lexile measurements of many suggested books targeting middle and high school readers. For example, Hatchet, a favorite novel usually studied in upper elementary or lower middle school grades, has a Lexile measurement of 1020L. On the other hand, the Lexile Level of Lord of the Flies, a novel often studied in 10th grade, is listed at 770L.

With that in mind, I suggest that teachers notice what MetaMetrix, creater of the Lexile Reading Framework, reminds us about recommending books.
  • The Lexile measure of a book refers to its text difficulty only. A Lexile measure does not take the subject matter or content of the book into consideration. Lexile measures are based on two well-established predictors of how difficult a text is to comprehend: word frequency and sentence length. Many factors other than these affect the relationship between a reader and a book, including content, the age and interests of the reader, and the design of the actual book. The Lexile measure is a good starting point in your book-selection process, with these other factors being considered.

If you are more interested in learning about Lexile Measurements, refer to the Link 2 Link website resources found at the end of this blog site. And if you want to peruse the mega-list of "Guy Books" I compiled, click on this wikispace link: Guy Books. And last of all, if you have recommendations, let's add them to the "Books recommended by colleagues" section, okay?

Well, this posting is still a little lengthy, but it is shorter than most of my efforts!

Best wishes,