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Setting and Monitoring Goals

Aug 17, 2007
Setting goals is an important aspect of a successful independent reading program. Students must have something to strive for - a goal to reach, a purpose. Setting goals also gives more autonomy to the students as they reed, for they know that they alone are responsible for reaching their reading goals. Before setting goals, you must first target each individual students reading level. Check your schools adopted reading series for a reading comprehension test, and use it to determine a targeted reading range

Once reading levels have been targeted for your students, you are now ready to set school semester goals for them. There are a variety of ways that this can be done. One way is to instruct the student to read a certain number of books in a certain period of time. You can also use a point system goal based on the points you have assigned your class library books, as mentioned earlier in this course. The idea here is to set some sort of goal that the student is to accomplish by the end of the grading period. The goal needs to be a challenge, yet attainable through the amount of class time you designate for reading.

In setting goals for your students, you must also have a way to help them track their goals. Students may seem overwhelmed by looking ahead at the larger picture. Break down the goal for them, and teach them how to track their goals into weekly expectations. For instance, if the goal is to read six books by the end of the six-week grading period, break it down, and explain that means that they should be reading at least one book per week. Having smaller goals will help them stay focused and reach the larger goal without getting frustrated. The same goes with points. If the student needs to earn 30 points in the six week term, help them break it down into the number of points they need to earn each week, which, in turn, leads to guiding them to select books worth that many points.

Many students will meet their goals prior to the end of the grading period. Make it clear early on that this doesn't mean they can quit reading. Make it a challenge to see how far they can surpass their goal. More will be discussed on this in the lesson on rewards, but offer rewards for going above and beyond the initial goal set.
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