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Talented Readers

Gifted readers by definition can read and understand material at least a year or two (or more!) beyond their same age peers. That presents challenges both to teachers and parents. It's not easy to find books whose content is age-appropriate, but which are satisfyingly complex. Over the years I've collected titles whose message or reading experience meet the needs of these precocious readers. By message, I mean they include a character that a reader might identify with or they include ideas to chew on. Sometimes the vocabulary and language provide a stretch. I've started the list, but by all means feel free to suggest titles. 

I'm also linking to Maine Gateways website from MSAD 75 in Topsham http://www.mainegateways.org/talented_readers/, which articulates how instruction needs to differ for these readers (they aren't working on the mechanics of reading--they're connecting with the text and characters, thinking about themes and inferring like mad). They need opportunities to answer meatier questions about books and respond in sometimes non-traditional ways. They don't usually need a slew of straight up character-plot-setting questions, but rather questions that make them think. I've posted a collection of thinking questions (called Bookmarks, below) developed by Sally Reis at the University of Connecticut.

Creative Connector is a game I like to play with my students; it's a variation on forced analogies. Take any object, the more random the better, and have students explain how it connects to their books. Patti Drapeau also has a connector graphic organizer in her book Differentiating With Graphic Organizers that has kids connect in three different ways.

You can try forced analogies in other ways. When I attended Confratute at the University of Connecticut--a conference/institute for teachers of the gifted (or really anyone) I learned an analogies game I play with students: write one noun each on several index cards, mix them, draw two at random and stretch to make a meaningful connection. Why not do this with book characters?
I also play a version where you take current events and cartoon characters and match them up at random. Students draw an editorial cartoon to share their connection. I have students generate the characters and current events to be sure they know about them.

Mensa for Kids also has a reading list that looks great.

Happy Reading!
Julia Hanauer-Milne,
Jun 18, 2012, 10:30 AM
Julia Hanauer-Milne,
Jun 18, 2012, 10:25 AM