The Reading and Study Skills program for entering sixth, seventh, and eighth graders has three primary goals. First, students develop the solid comprehension necessary to become absorbed in fiction. Second, students increase their reading speed. Finally, students learn to read, study, and take notes in textbooks and other kinds of nonfiction.
The first goal of the program is to build the solid comprehension that enables students to become absorbed in fiction. When a reader is absorbed in a book, the world of the story comes alive, and the reader imaginatively participates in the characters’ adventures. This experience is the basis for a lifelong love of reading. To attain a high level of comprehension, a reader must have an understanding of the basic elements of a story such as character, setting, plot, and main events. The program helps students develop this skill and build comprehension through reading practice in a classic work of juvenile literature, guided discussions, and written responses to the book.
The second goal is to help students substantially increase their reading speed. Many middle-school students have weak comprehension because they read too slowly. When children read very slowly, they tend to read word by word and their attention often wanders. It is hard for these students to concentrate on and understand what they are reading. Increasing students’ reading speed improves their comprehension and helps them get through reading assignments more quickly and easily.
The final goal of this program is to give students the study skills they need to read, study, and take notes in textbooks and other kinds of nonfiction. Students learn a systematic approach that enables them to identify how information is organized and then use that organization to identify important ideas and increase comprehension and recall. Students practice these skills and strategies in both textbooks and other kinds of nonfiction. They learn that reading nonfiction can be not only manageable but also enjoyable.
In addition, students will increase their vocabulary by using a simple procedure for approaching unfamiliar words and will further build vocabulary skills by completing lessons in the Word Intelligence workbook.
Students receive The Great Adventure Booklist, which identifies many of the finest books available for middle school readers, organized by topic and level of difficulty. The teacher provides students with a Book-Level Recommendation that helps them select books at the appropriate level of difficulty from The Great Adventure Booklist.