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365L lexile score, end of 1st grade - what does this mean?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

my daughter is in a 2nd language immersion school (all of her literacy and all of her subjects are taught in Spanish), and she just finished 1st grade. Reading in English was taught to her by me, at home, and i encourage reading for enjoyment and fun and learning. i work in vocabulary learning into everyday life, simply by using the "big words" in everyday context and conversations. 

 

her report card included some test assessment scores, of which it was noted that her 365L lexile score is "well above expectations" and recommends to "consider need for individualized instruction." 

 

ours is a very financially poor district and there is NO gifted program for reading whatsoever, and moreover, English language skills are not even being taught at all in this immersion situation.

 

can anyone give me some more insight into what a 365L lexile score translates to in terms of ability? she is into chapter books, but not at a crazy high level. she likes the ones she can finish in about 10 minutes time, maybe 20 minutes sometimes. 

 

we will continue our current reading program at home, which is really pretty casual. i just check out books that i think each of my two children will like, and after baths but before bed, i say, OK, start picking your books. then i leave them alone for a good half hour or so while they read or -- in the case of my 3 year old son -- thumb through and look at the pictures. she sometimes reads his books to him too. then, after awhile i come in and read to them whichever books they both want to hear me read.

 

if we were in a better school district that provided enrichment opportunities for strong readers, what would such a program look like? in the details of what would actually happen? i am curious to know, because i would like some more ideas on how to provide that at home. 

 

on a related note, her spelling in English is still pretty weak -- she is phonetic with it, and it's usually wrong. but i haven't done anything to aid her in this so far, as all of her spelling tests have been for Spanish words, and it was hard enough keeping up with it all year. i have figured that English spelling will start to improve naturally the more she reads. but i'm not certain that i'm right about this -- am i? other kids in English-only classrooms have been getting drilled on spelling in English all this time, so she is probably "behind" in this regard, thanks to the focus on Spanish.

 

just looking for ideas on how to best provide the environment to encourage her abilities in English at home, whilest continuing her in the Spanish immersion at school.

 

TIA for ANY help or ideas. 

post #2 of 12

I believe a Lexile score of 365 would be considered early 2nd grade level by most measures. Many 2nd graders and a not-insignificant portion of 3rd graders will not achieve that level, but I think it's not uncommon for a few first graders per class to be at or beyond this level. 

 

But in a poor district, and in a Spanish immersion program where English reading is not being actively taught, it's not surprising that this level is considered more unusual. 

 

The good news is that what you're doing is clearly working well for your dd! You probably don't have to change a thing. For a lot of kids, spelling follows naturally after a certain amount of reading experience has been gained. I was told that there can be up to a three-year lag in spelling skills: your child should be able to spell with accuracy what she could read three years ago. So yeah, I think your assumption that her spelling will improve naturally is likely to be correct, at least for a lot of kids. Especially since she's presumably getting a pretty good education in systematically applying Spanish phonetic spelling. And you know, I've been looking for years for any study that lends credence to the practice of drilling and testing weekly lists of English spelling words and have come up empty. I doubt your dd is missing out on any crucial learning in this regard.

 

You could Google <Dolch Sight Words> for a list of common English words that are often read by sight, including many of the commonest non-phonetic words. If you want to encourage her to memorize some spelling, these might be good words to start with. 

 

One thing I do think is helpful from the standpoint of the ongoing development of literacy is to read aloud to children long past the age when they can read independently, from books that are well above their independent reading level. So, say, "Wind in the Willows" (lexile level 1140, but very suitable for very young children) would be a lovely choice. Or "The Hobbit," or "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," both around 900-1000. Don't necessarily focus on reading level, though -- just read aloud good literature that you are enthusiastic about sharing. 

 

Miranda

post #3 of 12

I can only speak for DS's immersion class but the majority were reading above level in English despite lack of school reading instruction. For my son, it actually was a blessing that he didn't have to sit through English lessons when he was already a fluent reader. I'd see it as a benefit for your DD as well. She's a strong reader. She comes home and reads whatever she wants and she'll continue to grow from that action alone. She doesn't have to "learn to read" at school everyday.... she can focus on the new language when there.

post #4 of 12

Here is the Lexile to Grade chart-- http://www.lexile.com/about-lexile/grade-equivalent/grade-equivalent-chart/

 

That is a strong score for first grade but I don't think it is considered "advanced." However, it may be considered advanced given the instruction and where other kids are reading. DS just emerged from Kindergarten with a F&P "K" level which is a 375 Lexile level. Our K teacher just called him a "strong" reader for his age.

 

As for spelling, reading can reinforce spelling skills for some children but more children will need to learn spelling either from rote memorization or from instruction in grammer and word skills.If your school is not providing either of these in 2nd grade I would do so at home.

 

I was an advanced reader throughout elementary school and it never improved my spelling.

post #5 of 12

A common site in regular classrooms for kids her age is a "word wall" and you could do something similar at home. It contains the words the kids need to refer to often for spelling -- common words that they haven't learned to spell yet. Often, these words that don't follow phonetics rules (or at least the rules they have learned so far). Kids are encouraged to look at the word wall when spelling.

 

Sometimes they do activities like write their word wall words in shaving cream, or by writing the same word in different colored crayons on top of each other (called rainbow writing).

 

However, I wouldn't worry about it much yet. In the first grade class I was in this past year, only a handful of kids had decent spelling at the end of the year. They were the exception, not the rule. Spelling does come along naturally for some kids, and for other kids, like one of mine, they can work on it in a more focused way when they are a bit older.

 

Does her phonetic spelling make sense? Does she know the short vowel sounds? Does she do something to indicate long vowel sounds? If she wanted to sound out words like "van," "zig," etc, could she? For words like "paint,"  would she get all the consonants and something close on vowels, like "paent" or "pante"?

 

Our school doesn't do reading pullouts for kids who are reading well. Its the other way around -- the pull outs are for kids who are struggling. The strong readers do pretty much what you are doing at home -- during a period of time called "read to self,"  they are allowed to choose from books that are at their reading level.

 

I think her lexile score would be in the top quartile in a regular classroom in an average school, which is very solid. I think what is notable about is that she is in a Spanish classroom. At my school, a lot of kids are bilingual because they speak Spanish as their first language, and your DD would be on pair for where the kids who are not native English speakers who are tested as gifted are reading at the end of first grade. Our kids who speak don't speak English as their first language and don't test as gifted don't read that well at this age. I think the comments that the school made show that *under the circumstances,*  it's a high reading score. It shows she is very bright.

 

You said that you pick the books to be checked out, and I suggest that at least during the summer, you take your kids to the library and let them pick!

post #6 of 12

I forgot to address the spelling part. Something to keep in mind.. when it comes to state testing, immersion students regularly test lower than their English only peers in 2nd and 3rd grade because they haven't had the same exposure to English instruction. They even it up in 4th grade and then, 5th grade and on, test advanced of those than those same peers rest of their schooling days. Now, state testing isn't everything, I know that. I'm using this statistic to point out that it's normal for immersion students to be a little below or average in English skills (including spelling) in the early grades because they are schooling entirely in another language. However, that's not a gap that lasts for most students. Learning another language like that gives students a different perspective and approach to English spelling and grammar. It doesn't take much to get them caught up. Yes, her English only peers are spending 1st grade with English spelling lists but look at those words... they are all words that will be super easy for your child to learn in 3rd grade when most immersion schools start incorporating a little English language lessons. 

 

I wouldn't worry too much about the spelling with your DD right now. She's a strong reader. Keep fostering her enjoyment of it. Help her find the right answers when she makes mistakes in an English writing she does at home. Otherwise, it'll come. 

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

if we were in a better school district that provided enrichment opportunities for strong readers, what would such a program look like? in the details of what would actually happen? i am curious to know, because i would like some more ideas on how to provide that at home. 

 

DS just got done with first grade and one of my favorite things that DS' teacher did in class was to pair the kids up and have them read a chapter book together over the course of several months. I'm not sure exactly how the pairing was done but DS was definitely the stronger reader of the two. The book was Little House in the Big Woods. I think the benefit for DS to be paired with someone who is not as strong a reader as he is, is that it forced him to slow down and get a deeper understanding of the book. Of course, the discussion between him and his partner also facilitated further understanding but I think slowing down was also important.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

 

if we were in a better school district that provided enrichment opportunities for strong readers, what would such a program look like? in the details of what would actually happen? i am curious to know, because i would like some more ideas on how to provide that at home. 

 

 

 

I'm not sure that you need to do more at home right now since it sounds like she is doing well. If you want to do more, then I would check out the library. They often have excellent extra-curricular programs like children's Book Clubs, visiting author series, and extended activities (eg. international crafts, geography and history explorations etc.) taken from novels. Those are the sorts of extension activities that happened in my dc's classrooms to support reading programs and get the kids thinking beyond just reading the words on the page.  

post #9 of 12

My impression is that often what schools do with their strongest readers is to simply turn them loose on a library of books and encourage them to read at their own level for pleasure. Sounds like you're already doing that. And yes, your public library may open up new ways of encouraging reading.

 

Miranda

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpybear View Post

 

DS just got done with first grade and one of my favorite things that DS' teacher did in class was to pair the kids up and have them read a chapter book together over the course of several months. I'm not sure exactly how the pairing was done but DS was definitely the stronger reader of the two. The book was Little House in the Big Woods. I think the benefit for DS to be paired with someone who is not as strong a reader as he is, is that it forced him to slow down and get a deeper understanding of the book. Of course, the discussion between him and his partner also facilitated further understanding but I think slowing down was also important.

There is often a disconnect between reading and understanding and the difference between a strong reader in the early grades and a strong reader in the later grades is the ability to summarize, draw inferences, understand and use advanced vocabulary, and use the text in expanded ways such as answer questions etc.. Our teacher recommended that we discuss books after we read them, identify what the story was about, who the main characters where, how they were connected, how they might act in another situation, use the characters in a new story told by LO, do an art project/poem/drawing about the work. She also suggested reading this summer from biographies, non-fiction, and poetry in addition to the books LO might automatically be drawn to... Also, to make sure you aren't abandoning picture books, which often have far more complex language, nuance, and themes that early readers and bridge chapter books. (And this is what our school does for all reading groups in grades 1-3).

I go out of my way to go to the "good" children's library and librarians rather than my local. And I alternate between going by myself and taking the kids.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

OP here -- just to post an update. it is now mid-year of second grade. from 365 end of 1st grade, her exile score jumped to 615 at beginning of 2nd grade, and then to 810 at middle of second grade. this year, her school is taught at 70 percent spanish language instruction, 30 percent english. 

 

she was placed in the GATE program at the beginning of 2nd grade; i do believe this was based on reading / comprehension abilities. however, this is a one hour pull out program once a week. it is great, and she loves it, but i don't think it's enough.

 

i recently found out that our school is allowing families to homeschool part time. i am setting up to do this beginning in the fall (her 3rd grade year). i will be taking her to the public library in the afternoons while her brother is in afternoon preschool and doing my own "individualized instruction" program of all things advanced and fun for learning, using all of the many resources available in a great library; with the added benefit of having the luxury of reconnecting with my child one-on-one with a dedicated time frame day after day. 

post #12 of 12

That sounds ideal tropicana. I have a gifted reader/writer, too. She was reading the Harry Potter books in 2nd grade although she did get stalled out on HP4. She's really easy. I just provide her with access to books (take her to the library, bookstore, score some likely looking thrift store books for her) and let her go. She loves to write and has been writing pretty involved 20-40 page "books" since 2nd grade. This year she's doing BOB (Battle of the Books) at school and adapting one of her "books" for a movie she and her sister and friends are producing.

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