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Dear LM_NET,

I am a media specialist in a middle school with about 700
students.  Over 50% of our enrolled students are reading
below grade level, with approximately half of those reading
SIGNIFICANTLY below grade level. At the same time, we have
plenty of talented and gifted students reading significantly
above grade level.  We have a large selection of books that
are Reading Counts, and it is required that students earn a
certain number of points in independent reading each term.

My assistant principal came to me last week requesting that
I begin monitoring students to ensure they are checking out
books in their appropriate lexile ranges for independent
reading. (I forgot to mention that I have no media aide.
And, no, even this task will not be enough to petition for
one. lol)

Our reading coach and I have attempted to encourage students
to choose books close to their lexile levels.  (We have SRI
incorporated into RC.)  However, it became clear that this
is a daunting task.  Students are often challenged enough to
find books that appeal to them without going through the
added frustration of trying to find an appealing book within
150 points of their lexile range.  I have given them lists
of RC books to choose from.  You can imagine how well THAT
went over.  I have encouraged them to pick books within
their lexile color range for RC.  This is highly problematic
as the color ranges encompass of wide variety of levels even
within one color.  It has been suggested to me that I have
teachers assume responsibility for ensuring checkout of
books within correct ranges.  With all that teachers have to
do now, I don't want to burden them further.

Ultimately, I guess my problem is that I fear encouraging a
hatred of reading among our students.  I am also concerned
that this could open up a hornet's nest of making student
library records so accessible to others.  However, I, too,
want to help students (especially our low readers) find
appropriate books.  

What are your thoughts and experiences with this?  Do you
have a system that works for your school that you are also
comfortable with?  If there is interest, I'm happy to post a

Leigh Merryday
Media Specialist
W.H. Beasley Middle School
Palatka, FL

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