Series Reading

Taylor, Andrea
ET, CA, IL
Series Reading Program: Creating a Culture of Reading. (2016, February 16). Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/practice/series-reading-program-creating-culture-reading

Summary: Walter Bracken STEAM Academy Elementary school is a Title 1 magnet school in Las Vegas, Nevada. They have found a way to help students be two and a half years above their grade level on their STAR reading assessments by fifth grade. They have done this by implementing Series Reading in all of the grades, supplementing curriculum. The school deciding to make a change from what they had been doing years ago when they realize that the students were not finishing the books they brought home. Series Reading is meant to help the students develop a connection to the books’ characters, have a better idea of what book to read next, and increase their reading time and comprehension.

To accomplish Series Reading, each staff member at the school chooses their favorite book series. The series are then purchased and stored in the classrooms and staff offices. Six of every book is purchased so that multiple students can read the same book at the same time. The books have colored dots on their spines to indicate what reading level the series is. They also comes with a Series Bookmark that is a bookmark showing the title and covers of the books in that series. The school then uses the Accelerated Reader program to test each student on the book that they read. Next, when a student finishes an entire series they are rewarded with items such as dog tags, a charm to add to a necklace, a rubber duck, or a trophy. The school explains that as the students age it becomes less about the rewards and more about the excitement to read. Students receive a face bookmark in order to check out the books; this is done for the staff to know what books are out and need collected and it helps students know how much reading they have done.

Review: I think this is a terrific idea, although a school would have to have a substantial budget in order to get started. Not all schools would be able to incorporate this for that reason alone.  The series would cost a great deal of money, but so would continually buying incentives and prizes. The fifth graders are encouraged to donate their trinkets back, which would lower some cost, but not eliminate it altogether. Also, the article (and accompanying video) did not explain how the school accommodates students with learning disabilities. Perhaps the biggest issue with this is the lack of mention of a library! It seems that there is no library media center for students to go to.