kitchen table math, the sequel: Vicky S on the quota system

Friday, February 1, 2013

Vicky S on the quota system

Speaking of quotas for reading and writing, Vicky writes:
My kids had the requirement of 25 books a year all through elementary school. Reading became a chore, and we all became tangled up in the white lies required to comply--not the kind of thing I wanted my kids to learn! The writing, too--ugh, excessive. My poor kids were totally turned off both reading and writing by this quota and quantity approach. Does it actually work for any kids?


Jen said...

Our school sends home a book log for the summer and recommends you get a head start. They also send out a list of excellent choices, based on age levels.

I was just asking my son (10 yo, 5th grade) about this today -- he had 28 books read coming in from the summer, so he was done with the district req before setting foot in the school. (Again, there is a page amount that makes it just as "profitable" to read one huge book as several regular sized ones).

He's at 78 for this school year.

Things I DON'T like are required writing to go with the book, daily tracking of minutes (although I can see with reluctant readers that 30 minutes of reading may be easier to achieve than x number of pages), or any other onerous tracking requirements.

I'd have no problem with a monthly "something" though -- a grade/age appropriate paragraph or the like from your favorite/least favorite reading of that month.

I do know that there are kids in my son's school who would read NOTHING without this req. It also means the school and district have to support the classrooms with enough appropriate reading for kids who don't have access to books at home or parents who will get them back and forth to the library.

Honestly? I think kids should be sent to bed 30 minutes before when you want lights out. That's their reading time. And no, there shouldn't be a TV or DVD player or any other screen in that room at night.

But I'm old school.

lgm said...

Yes, it does work for many, especially if the school provides reading time and gets a little competition going.

We had two issues: above grade level readers were reading thick fiction books so getting 25 done in the school year wasn't always possible...that was settled by using the Accelerated Reader Point System...25 books or 100 pts was the goal... and reminding that nonfiction was included. The other issue is access to Accelerated Reader in a meaningful time frame. Let's face it, elementary schools have a lot of days off. With only 5 test stations per classroom, and everyone reading, it was hard to get in and test before the child was halfway thru the next book.

A positive of having 20 minutes to read in class is that everyone settles down in the process.

momof4 said...

Jen, I'm old school, too, and did the same bedtime reading with my kids. Your son might like Rosemary Sutcliff's books, both her versions of the Iliad, Odyssey, Arthurrian Legend etc. and her historical novels set in Roman Britain. My kids loved all of them. The historical novels (young make protagonist) do have a historical timeline, but make sense in any order. As I said elsewhere, my kids read David Macaulay's Roman City (set in Britain), watched the video of it, read about Herculaneum and read the Sutcliff novels - a really nice dose of history, culture and architecture but fun to read. IIRC, your son is the right age. FWIW.

Catherine Johnson said...

I don't think I know Rosemary Sutcliff's books!

Jen said...

Had just hopped back here to get the name again for my trip to the library tomorrow.

He just finished Return of the King, having plowed through The Hobbit and then the trilogy this school year. I can't get through those books -- but now two of three sons and dad have read them all and other son and I just nod.

I knew youngest was a goner when he found all those hobbit songs to be totally awesome to read. Heh. That's right about where my interest fell off a cliff.

Jen said...

Oh! She's the Black Ships Before Troy author. They've read that and liked it. Will look up more of her stuff tomorrow -- they've got 65 listings in the city system, so I'm sure something will be at our branch.

momof4 said...

Must proofread better; that was supposed to have been MALE protagonist - it used to be difficult to find them in high-quality reads. Jen - I haven't been to the library yet, but there are listing for books about Bath (history and baths) and a number of other Roman Britain sites that would be great companions to the Sutcliff books - better than Pompeii or Herculaneum.

My kids loved Bright Candles - kids helping the WWII Danish Resistance - dumping sugar in Nazi gas tanks or boys peeing in same (they really loved that). Mom and Dad to kids; NEVER emulate!

Catherine: Her language and content are far better than most kids' books offer - I can enjoy them as an adult. Unfortunately, a fair amount of her work was out of print, so I found most on Barnes and Noble's used book network. Many were library culls, and it's doubtful that they were replaced with anything of comparable quality.

TerriW said...

I knew youngest was a goner when he found all those hobbit songs to be totally awesome to read.

My little guy (6) isn't a reader yet, but he had me read the Misty Mountain poem to him over and over and over and over until he had it in his head -- and when the Hobbit trailer came out? He asked to replay that over and over and over until he could sing it, too.

Oh, yeah. Hobbit songs.