Thursday, March 12, 2015

Choosing Courage

Choosing Courage

Peter Collier

Quantitative Reading Level: 
Lexile 1150

Qualitative Reading Analysis:

This part is always the most difficult... I can't find the actual tool I used during my class but found another tool that looks at the following characteristics...


The structure of this book is very friendly.  It has short narratives for each person and then sidebars of additional historical information.

Language Clarity and Conventions (including vocabulary):

The language of this book does not make high demands for the intended grade levels.  Knowledge of vocabulary related to the military would be helpful.

Knowledge Demands: 

Some knowledge of various wars and conflicts might be helpful but there are various side bars that help to provide this context.  For struggling readers a teacher might have them read the side bards first or provide a historical background before reading certain sections.

Levels of Meaning/Purpose:
This is a very straightforward text that honors the courage of a variety of people.
One of the reasons a qualitative analysis is done is to ensure that the decoding of the text matches the comprehension aspects.  Sometimes a lexile score skews lower than what a text might actually require from a student.  In this case the qualitative and quantitative analysis align.  This book would be ideal for around grades 6 and up.
This book documents the events surrounding men and women from the Civil War and forward who have been awarded the Medal of Honor.  It talks about events leading up to the war or event they participated in and the actions that led to them being nominated and awarded with the medal.  For the most part the book focuses on the fact that many felt they were just doing their job or were protecting their brothers and sisters in arms or society as a whole.  The take away from the book is that in the moment many people rise to the occasion and choose courage.  Most, if not all, would say that there were not necessarily anything special and honor those who died or who may not have received the same honor.  

I felt the book was well done.  Each story was a few pages long and spanned different races, both genders, and various conflicts and events.  For students who are interested in military stories this would be a good fit.

Content Area: 
Language Arts and Social Studies

Curriculum Suggestions:
This book could accompany a course on American History and look at different conflicts and people who were honored - it brings a personal touch to the topic.  In addition, using this text as a high interest topic in an English / Language Arts class would be interesting.  With its short sections students could read about one person and perhaps do further research on the person or the conflict.

Personal Thoughts:

I thought this was a well done book with good side notes that set the historical context.  It was also realistic about the conflicts.

High Interest Annotation: 

What is courage?  Meet people who have been awarded for showing courage in the face of harrowing situations.

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