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Literacy Tip of the Week: May 3, 2020

posted May 3, 2020, 8:06 PM by Steven Richardson   [ updated May 3, 2020, 8:19 PM ]
Using Graphic Novels in Book Clubs

Since schools are closed, I’ve had the pleasure of volunteer tutoring two middle school boys via Zoom. Both boys are reading several years below grade level. One lives in Wisconsin and the other in New Mexico. I’ve seen them make amazing growth through guided reading. They have accelerated about one text level per week. I also wanted to motivate them to read independently, so I asked them to be in a virtual book club together. They agreed, even though they don’t know each other. Since both boys were reluctant readers, I decided to use one of Dav Pilkey’s Dogman books. It was a huge hit. After just a few days, one of the mothers sent me this email. “I love that the first thing Jaxon does when he gets done with his morning zoom lesson is go to read Dogman. He is really enjoying it. I have never seen him be so independent with reading -- without me nagging him!” We meet on zoom every day for about 10 minutes. I ask the boys to be prepared to share their favorite part of each chapter and ask a question. We are still working on getting a conversation going, but the boys are getting a lot out of the books. I’ve been able to teach them some challenging vocabulary and literary elements such as flashback, theme, and how characters influence the plot. Attached is a recording of their last book club discussion. It was the first time I didn’t support them. We have now completed two Dogman books, and the boys are ready to try a different genre.
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