One Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty Nine Pages

Do you remember way back in July when I promised to read 25 pages a day for pages4progress? I did it! Well, I actually did a little more. Between July 13th and September 7th, I read 1739 pages – an average of 29.9 pages per day.

My Reading Ritual: Coffee, Post-Its, and Brookine Booksmith Bookmark on My IKEA Bird Tray

My Reading Ritual: Coffee, Stickies, Pen, and Brookline Booksmith Bookmark on My IKEA Bird Tray

Books I Finished During This Challenge

10% Happier by Dan Harris (non-fiction): A news reporter commits to a meditation practice.*

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff (non-fiction): A family struggles to comprehend a teenage son’s addictions to heroin, crystal meth, and alcohol.

The Clue in the Crumbing Wall by Carolyn Keene (YA fiction): Teenage sleuth Nancy Drew searches for a missing dancer who is also the heir to an estate.

Con Cariño, Amalia by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta (Spanish intermediate fiction): A sixth grade girl deals with both her grandmother’s death and her best friend’s out-of-town move.

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante (realistic fiction): A woman verges on madness after her husband leaves her.

Silent Dancing: Partial Rememberances of a Puerto Rican Childhood by Judith Ortiz Cofer (autobiographical sketches): Through poetry and prose, Ortiz Cofer recants her childhood in Puerto Rico and New Jersey.

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (professional): A veteran teacher shares techniques for increasing student engagement.*

The Year of Our Revolution by Judith Ortiz Cofer (YA realistic fiction): A Puerto Rican woman living in New Jersey comes of age during the 1960s.

Books I Had to Return to the Library Before Finishing (And Have Re-Requested)

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (autobiography): A young Pakistani girl risks her life for her education.

Trout Fishing in America/The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster/ In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan (fiction, fiction, poetry): Through short tales and poetry, Brautigan captures American life in the 1960s.

The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square by Ned Sublette (non-fiction): This book provides a historical account of New Orleans from colonization through the Louisiana purchase.**

Books I Own But Did Not Finish Because I Was Trying to Complete the Library Books I Had Out

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (realistic fiction): A Mexican-American woman narrates her family’s history.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (fiction): A young boy with a skeletal facial difference begins middle school.

*Read as a Talks for Teachers Summer Book Club Reading Selection

**Inspired me to make Shrimp Gumbo

Sofia: "Mommy - Count Me In for Next Year's Challenge!" Mommy: "Ok - I will!"

Sofia: “Mommy – Count Me In for Next Year’s Challenge!” Mommy: “Ok – I will!”

Adapting Text for ELLs: “Taliban shot teenage girl for fighting for girls’ rights”

In a recent comment on the post “Letters to Malala Yousafzai”, veteran teacher Amethyst asked about lower lexile texts for ELL students. Adapted texts are a valuable resource to ELL teachers as they allow for us to convey grade-level content to our students with comprehensible language. Although I have found decent adapted or modified texts on the subscription sites Achieve3000 and EdHelper.com, these sites do not offer texts on more current events nor do they provide articles on the more controversial or deep topics that peak my students’ (and my own) interest.

I have found that it is sometimes easier to simply adapt authentic texts myself, rather than wade fruitlessly through the depths of a search engine. In preparing adapted texts for ELLs, I have found the guidelines in this article from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) extremely helpful.

In summary, the TEA advises teachers to adapt text by employing the following steps:

1. Identify main ideas and key words in the original article.

2. Use a clear topic sentences followed by supporting details.

3. Shorten sentences.

4. Simplify grammar and vocabulary.

5. Rephrase complex ideas.

6. Clarify by giving examples or giving the meaning of a word in parentheses.

7. Make the text easier to look at by using bold headings and larger font sizes.

I would also advise adding some graphics and some words for discussion.

Since it is summer and my text adaptation skills are a little rusty, I created a sample adaptation. I began by printing out, reading, and marking up the original article. I marked the main topics of each paragraph or section and also wrote some ideas for key vocabulary words.

Original article with my annotations

Original article with my annotations

Next, I used Microsoft Word to type up my own adaptation of the text (click the link to download it). The most time consuming part was thinking about the paragraph organization and headings.

Although it does take some time to adapt a text for ELL students, it is worthwhile to create an engaging text appropriate for your own students’ levels. Also, by the time you introduce the text to the class, you will be very prepared for your lesson because you will definitely have familiarized yourself with the content.