Posted on May 1, 2009 by Big Universe in Uncategorized.
Books that are readable and have a reason to be read are usually hard to find for special education students. I feel like I’ve found a gold mine at Big Universe. The book Our Earth by Kenneth Walsh is written at the reading level of 2.6 but looks and can be read by children in the 4th and 5th grade who have reading difficulties.
Our Earth is a chapter book, with an index and glossary. The topic meets the criteria in many science curriculums and can be used easily as it is interesting to many 9, 10 and 11 year olds! What more can you ask for in a book? The fact that it’s online only makes it more enticing.
As a special education teacher in Fairfax County Virginia my first thought is always whether I’ll be able to gather any VGLA (Virginia Grade Level Assessment) material by reading a particular text. The VGLA is a portfolio assessment designed to collect material that a student has produced to show that they are at grade level on each and every Standard of Learning (SOL) strand. The assessment is for those students who can’t take the multiple choice test, successfully, at the end of the year, but are able to produce grade level work. Let me tell you I’m starting to realize what an oxymoron that statement is!
With a book like Our Earth and a media like the computer and http://www.biguniverse.com the VGLA becomes more feasible. I read the book and designed a couple of activities that I could use right away for the VGLA for a non-fiction book. I’m going to add more to finish up the standard as I have time.
I think the big idea here is that with the right book, with the right website like Big Universe, teachers can find what we need more easily than we thought. Our job then becomes making the most of it and making it work with what we need.
The following link will take you to a couple of pages of worksheets to use with Our Earth as a VGLA assessment or just a general assessment of your student’s comprehension. 45a45b56a1 (worksheets click here)