Sierra Expeditionary 4th and 5th grade classrooms are the perfect setting for the introduction and exploration of the exquisite stories that reside within classic literature novels. The Newbery Award winning texts are meant to inspire and create a world of wonder for students so that they may see, touch, hear, and feel the lives of the characters that exist within each text. The Newbery Reader Challenge is a national program encouraging young readers to set reading goals with Newbery literature. Often times, these small “contests” provide additional motivation, and with the use of award winning books, hope to increase students’ abilities and interests in reading.
All 4th and 5th grade students will benefit from participating in the Newbery Reader Challenge. The students can develop a love and passion for reading as they are introduced and inundated with quality literature such as the Newbery Award books. Literature has a demonstrated effectiveness in the development of youngsters or “tweens” academic, cognitive, and social-emotional growth. Their reading abilities in comprehension can reach maximum potential as they are exposed to higher level or Tier 2 vocabulary words as recognized in the Common Core State Standards. Complexities within the stories challenge the students’ critical thinking, analytical, and reasoning skills at a higher level and thus may influence how students reason and think within the world at large. Additionally, reading quality literature exposes the students to diverse characters and experiences that the average learner may never encounter. The opportunity to experience various backgrounds, struggles, and perspectives lies within each page, providing the students will have numerous chances to grapple with a wide range of emotions the characters experience within a safe setting; therefore, may be able to expand their own emotional growth. This exposure and experience will prepare the learners for real world situations and will give them confidence as they grow into young adults.
Launching the Newbery Reading Challenge within the classroom will enhance the reading curriculum and CAFE/Daily 5 program at the 4th and 5th grade levels. Students will strengthen their reading skills of comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary and take them to new heights as they delve into the wonders of the Newbery Award winning texts.
Success of the Newbery Reading Challenge will be identified in a variety of ways. Informal assessments, such as participation in content rich conversations, expanding vocabulary, and discussions of events and experiences as measured by the teacher will demonstrate student success. Further, the rubric created for the book reviews will formally measure their comprehension, evaluation, and reflection of the numerous texts read by each student. In addition, the scores in the comprehension and fluency areas of the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) will provide a formative measure of their success.
Students will be introduced to a variety of Newbery Award winning texts in a “pilot” program this year starting April 18 and lasting through the remainder of the 2017-18 school year. Next year the program will be implemented in full with the additional books (hopefully) provided from this grant. The students’ learning target will be to respond to and analyze literature by exploring titles written by award-winning authors, diagramming and reflecting the storylines, and writing a book review to be used as a final assessment of their learning. Students will accrue points for each book read and, prior to reading, will choose a level to aim for based on a difficulty scale of literature authors provided by the teacher. As they are reading, the students will use a note catcher to capture the essence of their analytical and reasoning skills throughout the books. They will then synthesize the information they have gathered and complete a book review to be assessed by the teacher. Their score will be reflected in number form as detailed in a comprehensive rubric provided by the teacher.
This grant, when funded, will be shared with the 4th and 5th grade classrooms. In addition, the Reading Specialists, who support reading and writing within each classroom, will join in the implementation of the Newbery Reader Challenge.