This year I am partnering with one of our Language Arts teachers to help with the Independent Reading for her class. Part of their Independent Reading component for the 7th grade Advanced English class includes students building their own reading ladders. This idea comes from the book “Reading Ladders” by Teri Lesesne. The concept of reading ladders is to use different books to help move students from one book to a higher and more challenging book. In working toward the “goal book” we discussed what things would be considered as part of a book that makes up each rung. For example, with a goal book like “Book Thief” I might consider having other historical fiction about the holocaust as well as nonfiction about the holocaust or World War II.
After introducing this concept to the class, students had a week to think of potential “goal” books that they wanted to work toward. Students then worked to build their reading ladder. It was up to each student (with the help and support of myself and their English teacher) to determine what needed to be included in their reading ladder. When the day came for students to build their book ladder I was impressed by the books that our students chose as well as the thought and care they took in selecting the other books that would be part of their ladder.
These students are only one month into their IR & reading for their reading ladder. I will be eager to talk to students as they complete their ladder how they feel that it helped them to grow as readers and to think about what they are reading and why they are reading it.