Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Reading for Righties and Lefties

Dawn Capes
Bay District Schools


This is a year-long project which appeals to students who are concrete-based learners as well as those who lean toward the abstract. This reading workshop program is an open reading forum in which students choose their own novels they would like to read.


The student uses background knowledge of the subject and text structure knowledge to make complex predictions of content, purpose, and organization of the reading selection.

The student determines the main idea or essential message in a text and identifies relevant details and facts and patterns of organization.

The student uses a variety of reading materials to develop personal preferences in reading.

The student locates, organizes, and interprets written information for a variety of purposes, including classroom research, collaborative decision making, and performing a school or real-world task.


-Accelerated Reader software and books
( Advantage Learning Systems)
-Question(s) of the Day (compose as needed; samples included)
-Letter format sheet for each student to follow (sample included)
-Student journals (spiral-bound notebooks, prong folders, etc.)


1. Familiarize yourself with books in your library.
2. Familiarize yourself with the books available on Accelerated Reader.
3. Determine whether or not the attached forms are acceptable for use with your students. Make modifications as needed.
Optional. Using a reading level testing program like STAR (Advantage Learning Systems), test students to find out their actual reading level.
4. Begin the program. Modify as needed.


1. Beginning: Allow students free time during which they select a book of their choice. This book, at the beginning of the project, should be an Accelerated Reader Book. Do an informal -book talk- about a variety of books to whet students' interests. Using the title print-out from the Accelerated Reader program, make students aware of the grade level of the book they have chosen to read and explain to them the point system.

2. The point system: The teacher, based on his/her understanding of the students, establishes a point system for students to reach by the end of the grading period. For example, 12 points is a 100, 11 points is a 95, and so on. As students finish their novels, make sure the Accelerated Reader tests are easy for the students to access so they can test at their own speed.

3. Allow students class time to read. Pillows and comfortable chairs are an easy way to set a mood that is relaxed and quiet.

4. Journals: After students have had time to read, have them write a letter to you, the teacher, according to the following formula (or one that works for your students).
Paragraph one: Title of book, author, and current page number
Paragraph two: Summary of the novel thus far
Paragraph three: Question of the Day (QOD) or opinion of the book if they've finished it. The attached file has sample questions to ask students. These questions should probe for main idea, predictions of purpose, content, etc. The teacher may also request that periodically in the QOD the students relate and assess how they select books.

5. Assessment: After students have written their letters to you about their book, grade according to the attached rubric. In addition to grading these, you will want to comment on the students' book choice and offer new novels which will be challenging and engaging. A sample format for this is included.

6. Continuation: Once students have learned how to write a complete letter that is informative and reflective, have them exchange letters with each other instead of with you. Provide the students with a form letter in which they can respond to their partner's letters easily. Once they become familiar with this process, allow the students the freedom to make additions to their letters as they see fit. See attachments for a sample.

7. Have students do informal book talks periodically. Since the purpose is to encourage student reading, the speaking doesn't need to be assessed, but could be if desired.

8. Feedback: Throughout the course of the year, monitor each student's progress. If a student is consistently reading books that are two-three grade levels below his current grade, then take action to either encourage that student to select a more challenging book or test the student to find their appropriate level. Journals (Lit. Logs) can be monitored periodically, using a rotating schedule. Students can mark entries they would particularly like you to read and/or assess, or they can write letters to the teacher on a regularly scheduled basis. Additionally, the rubric can be used by students as a self-assessment.


Assessment procedures are included in the Procedures section. They include the point system for the Accelerated Reader program, the scores on the actual Accelerated Reader tests, and the responses to the Questions of the Day in the form of letters to the teacher or to other students. A rubric for the letters is included.


Be aware of students' reading levels and modify accordingly. Additionally, once the program is working smoothly, students can select books outside of the Accelerated Reader program, with the teacher assigning an appropriate number of points according to the length and difficulty of the book. Comprehension can be verified through Lit. Logs or through a book report.
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