Friday last week was a PD day for us here in Chatham. We spent the day going over our OSSLT (Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test) results from last year and discussed how departments can make a difference. We came to a giant conclusion through the data that although OUR students could read…..they struggled with comprehension.
The OSSLT is a giant beast and most schools say “Literacy is a whole school issue.” I agree….but it can seem daunting to take on as a whole. Each of our departments decided to narrow their focus. Departments would choose a type of reading activity and incorporate that type into their lessons on a regular basis. We would own that type of reading assessment and use the data/results in June to see if we made a small difference.
In math we chose reading informational texts and answering multiple choice questions based on those readings.
Here is one sample lesson plan our math department created to do in our grade 9 & 10 classes.
Show students this Estimation180 challenge.
How many pages in this book?Have them guess too high, too low, best guess (Grab Andrew’s tracking sheet)
And the answer.
I zoomed into the passage on the answer picture and asked students to read the passage silently to themselves and raise their hand when finished.
We discussed that different people read at different speeds. Students made sure to point out: “Just because I read slower doesn’t mean I understand less.” Connor wanted to go as far as saying that maybe if you read slower you will understand more.
These were great observations and I said let’s explore this more.
I had them guess how fast they read in words per minute. To help make this guess we counted up all the words in the passage above (51) and asked them if they thought it took a minute to read that passage. Some students agreed and predicted they read 50 words/min, some predicted much higher at 300 words/min. They all recorded ther prediction on their whiteboard.
Let’s discover our reading speed! We’ll explore the relationship between words read and the time taken.
Using the handout students predict what the relationship between time read and words read will look like.
Finding our Speed
A great reading resource is the series Critical Reading Series.
All articles are of appropriate length with questions that are of the same variety as the OSSLT. The key for us is the book also shows the number of words per article!!
I gave each student an article titled Jackie Chan Actor & Stuntman (1006 words) I also asked them to get out their phones to time how long it takes to read.
After reading, students are to answer questions based on the reading. We’ll take up and compare our score vs. Speed later.
They read, recorded their times and calculated words/min on the handout.
Explore the Relationship.
We used this rate to introduce direct variation. We filled out a table showing words in 1 min, 2 min, etc. We showed it was linear and introduced terms initial value, rate of change, and direct variation.
I stole parts of Kyle Pearce’s template for our task Flaps for this handout
We went on to use our equation to answer the following…
Lastly after students answered the follow up questions from the reading we graphed our reading speed vs. our score on the reading. We’ll repeat this lesson again and again, each time adding to this graph…..trying to see if Connor’s statement — “does reading slower result in better understanding?” — true or false.
Run this lesson in your class: