- hampered with decoding or fluency issues
For this reason, I've been searching for a model that focuses upon students who LIKE to read and who are good at it. In 2007, while attending the Utah Council of International Reading Association (UCIRA), I stumbled onto the World Class Readers Model and liked it VERY much, but I ran into a few challenges.
- The model MAY be a copyrighted gifted and talented reading framework, but I haven't been able to confirm or refute that.
- WCR, as developed by Nebo District, focuses upon elementary readers - not a big problem as it can be easily adapted for secondary classrooms.
- Other than what Nebo has shared with me, I cannot find any additional informations or resources about this model.
We poured over the JSD approved reading list to find books that could both challenge and engage readers. Two are "advanced" books - a memoir and a classic - and two are currently "HOT" reads with controversial and/or compelling content. Those books include the classic Treasure Island and the memoir of Beryl Markham - West with the Night. The two popular novels are Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick and Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
Lis Thomas of Elk Ridge Middle read and created plans for West with the Night. This book shares Markham's adventures as an aviatrix in South Africa during the 30s and 40s. Ernest Hemingway said of this book, "... she has written so well ... that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt I was just a carpenter with words ... . But she can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers." ERNEST HEMINGWAY - mind you!
Barbara Burt, also from Elk Ridge Middle, organized plans for Last Book in the Universe. The Kirkus Review writes of Philbrick's futuristic novel: "Enriched by ... allusions to nearly lost literature and full of intriguing, invented slang, the skillful writing paints two pictures of what the world could look like in the future—the burned-out Urb and the pristine Eden—then shows the limits and strengths of each. Philbrick, author of Freak the Mighty (1993) has again created a compelling set of characters that engage the reader with their courage and kindness in a painful world that offers hope, if no happy endings."
While working on this project, I approached the Jordan Education Foundation to see if we could procure funds to buy the books, thus allowing a "test drive" of our lesson plans. With some luck and good timing, I was able to buy one classroom set of books for each of the participating teachers. Each teacher will use the WCR model to study the novel with their students. They will reflect upon the lessons and make changes to their plans, if necessary. After this process, we will share the plans with other teachers.
Now here is some pretty good news - NOT great news when compared to all the bad news we've been faced with, but something nice, nevertheless. With additional help from the Jordan Education Foundation, we applied for another grant through QWEST and received enough money to supply each middle school with at least one classroom set of the above novels. IF teachers aren't interested in using those books, they can choose another from the list I am creating from the JSD approved book list.
This "list within the list" will include books we hope are challenging and engaging. We'll look at old and newer classics as well as Lexile levels. I plan to check out availability, summaries and reviews of unfamiliar titles, and then I'll ask you for your opinions before publishing the final Advanced Readers Book List. Does that sound good?
To receive a classroom set of books, you'll be invited to attend an orientation about the World Class Readers Model. If teachers want a set of books off the Advanced Readers Book List, we ask that they develop a unit plan using the WCR Model. Watch here for more information and thanks for all you do for our students!