Today many of my SC library friends engaged in a healthy discussion about the books that have mostly pictures, are roughly 32 pages (give or take), and have been maligned by teachers as “easy.”
The conversation began with an innocent question:
If you are in an Intermediate school, 4th and 5th grade, do you have an Easy Book section with E on the spine?
Here are the takeaways from this crowd sourced “wonder.”
- I had an E section but it was called Everybody Books.
- We have a E “Everybody” section. Many of these books are good read-alouds that support standards, especially science and social studies.
We call them “Everybody” books because they aren’t all that easy to read. There are several picture books in our “E” section that have lexiles in the upper hundreds. I hate to call them “Easy” because they aren’t all that easy to read. We call them “Everybody” because if you can’t read the words, you can enjoy the pictures. Therefore “Everybody” can enjoy those books.
I use E for Everybody books – if I were starting new, I would use P for picture. Picture books are NOT easy books – some of them are on 4th, 5th, 6th grade levels!
Very well stated! I totally agree with what you’ve said and that is how I promote my “E” section – easy is not part of the vocab here. And for what it’s worth, I despise the term “Chapter books”. Makes me want to scream. Why teachers use this when sending the kids to the Learning Commons is beyond my imagination.
All of these are fantastic support from some great SC voices. As a high school librarian, I want to add my support for these books as well. These books are a GREAT way to introduce a topic in any classroom or content area. They can be the perfect segue from topic to topic or activity to activity in any classroom. These books also tap into the inner creative side for some, and we all know there are plenty of students who do not respond to dry text, but will respond to stories or pictures that make connections, evoke feelings, and allow for the appreciation of literature, dramatic readings, and in its purest form, the appreciation of art. Just think of the possibilities too, as you prepare for Common Core, and providing varied texts and formats of information.
- Different Points of View (reality vs. what we manifest in our minds)
- Differing views through colors (Visual literacy/Art appreciation)
- Imagination and perception
- Letter writing and audience
- Newspaper article writing and audience
I’ll close with this reflection. Just as we cannot judge books by their covers, this is a reality for levels too. No matter the intended audience, the level may vary greatly. A book, despite a low level or lexile, might be the prefect choice for adding variety, providing choice, creating a mood, or modeling/demonstrating a concept. So don’t be dismissive of these well loved books just because they are labeled Easy..
14 November 2011.