I am so excited! I used to teach reading through the use of novels, authentic literature but when I switched school my principal was very strict and she insisted that we use the reading program and nothing else so I had to stop using my novels and start using anthologies. We do ability grouping for reading (we switch classes for reading and each teacher has a different level) With my old principal that's where the differentiation ended. We were all expected to be teaching the same exact thing which made no sense to me at all. Well this year, we got a new principal and we got a new reading program. My reading class consists of the students who are "Bubble Students" which means they are basically on the fence, they could go either way on their standardized reading test. I gave the new program an entire marking period and when my students scores were stagnant from the beginning of the year I went to my new principal and asked him if I could use the novels again and he said yes! I am SO exited to be teaching this way and my students are super excited! I pointed out to my principal that these kids have had "canned" reading programs for the past 4 years and if these programs worked with these students then they wouldn't be Bubble Kids. So now I am now using Matilda by Roald Dahl as our first novel study and my class couldn't be happier! When I told them we would be reading Matilda I had one student say "You mean we are going to read a real book?" Imagine that, reading a real book in your reading class! What a novel concept (pun intended).
We just finished week 1, the first 4 chapters of Matilda and my class average on their comprehension test was an 85.5% the average of their comprehension tests last 9 weeks was about a 68%. My lowest student, who is also learning "disabled" scored a 94% on his comprehension test! His average score last 9 weeks was a 56% I am so excited for them!
I created a novel study pack that I posted on Teachers Pay Teachers (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Matilda-by-Roald-Dahl-Novel-Study-Graphic-OrganizersThinking-Maps-957068)