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01 April 2015 @ 03:08 pm
Fools, not April fools  
A colleague and friend of mine reported that she watched kids at a book fair wandering aimlessly from shelf to shelf without making any selections. Ever the teacher-researcher, she asked the kids why they were not finding any good books to buy. The answer was jaw-dropping: the entire book fair had been leveled and lexiled. The kids were basically told they needed to stay in their bad/level when purchasing books.

What type of pernicious evil is this? How could we take an event that is purported to be about helping kids OWN books (which we know is key to lifelong reading) and turn it into an event that censors what kids can read using numbers? Add this to the sales pitch I got this weekend about leveled books for HIGH SCHOOL coming soon to a library near you. I have some letters for this act of inanity, just 4 of them.

Where does this madness end? Will Barnes and Noble start putting lexiles and levels on all their books? Please tell me they are not doing this already. It is bad enough that they are selling workbooks, something kids LOVE to own (insert sarcastic tone where appropriate). Will we begin checking backpacks to ensure that kids are only reading books approved by the Lexile Police? "I am Detective Semantics from the Lexile Squad, and I am here to help you poor, unfortunate, ignorant reader. Allow me to wave my magic Syntax Stick and conjure up a book for you."

I think there is a scarier dystopic novel in her somewhere. Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" keeps running through my head.

We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! teacher! leave us kids alone!
All in all you're just a another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just a another brick in the wall.

We need to stop being bricks in the wall. We need to be the ones who open a world of books to kids and not section them off using some numeric voodoo so choices are limited more and more and more. Why does the amount of independent reading seem to decrease? Has anyone posited that THIS might be part of the problem?
 
 
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Todd KeithToddKeith5 on April 2nd, 2015 11:51 pm (UTC)
Leveling mania
We should NEVER limit our students' options for independent reading. From the early elementary grades, we need to teach kids how to find good fit books, and let them find what they WANT to read. Leveling classroom libraries, or directing children to check out books at xxx Lexile level is just plain WRONG!