professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Being choosy

I headed over to Donors Choose today because he Gates Foundation is offering matching donations. Much as I despise the meddling of Bill Gates in education, I applaud his and his wife's dedication to matching funds for these classroom projects. After about 30 minutes of browsing projects (and I opt to fund here in Texas), I was able to locate a couple of worthy and worthwhile projects which are now fully funded.

However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that I would have funded more projects, especially those that want to offer more books for their kids. The reason I did not fund those others? They wanted to use lexiles (BTW, spell check turns "lexiles" not the word "exiles" each time I type it) and levels. They wanted classroom sets of books. They were not asking for authentic texts. They listed only one series of books.

As I continue to work with Donalyn Miller on our book about reading engagement, it is apparent to me that there is an audience that does not understand the role of engagement or has some misperceptions about how to engage readers. Using the same text with all readers guarantees that MOST readers' needs will not be met. Here is a terrific info graphic about this situation of one book for all kids.


I am happy to give books to teachers. I am happy when I can fund projects that get authentic books into the hands of kids who might not otherwise have access to them. There are grants available for funding as well. The ALAN Foundation Grant offers funding for research using YA literature. Do not let the "research" part keep you from applying for these funds. I received an ALAN grant while I was still in the middle school classroom. Many others have university-classroom partnerships, too. Information is up at the ALAN website:

As for the issue of lexiles and levels, I have written about it quite a bit. I am sensing, though, it is time for a refresher course.

ETA: info graphic is from Jillian Heisenberg. Thanks, Jillian, for letting me know where I found this originally.
Tags: books
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