Spectrum Reading 2015

This latest edition (2015 copyright) of the Spectrum Reading workbooks contains the same reading passages as the previous edition (2007 copyright). The exercises accompanying each selection have changed, however. There is now a single series of questions following each passage and they are essentially the same as the Reading Skills section of the previous edition. There is more room to write answers (which are typically short answer or short essay) and the general format is single column instead of the double column of the previous edition. Sometimes vocabulary content is included in these questions but there is virtually no incorporation of the previous study skills material.

This unique reading skills series helps students improve comprehension and vocabulary. The selections are appealing also. Rather than unrelated excerpts, the workbook contains a storyline which progresses throughout the book. Each reading is an event centering around the same characters and families. While the characters and scenario are fictitious, many of the excerpts contain a good bit of real, textual information. It's a nice blend, with students learning a lot from the context of the story. Plus, students are more motivated to read the next passage, since there's an ongoing story in the background. The worktext is also in full-color, with a photograph or illustration accompanying every passage. Each selection is contained on one page, with exercises on the facing page. It would be difficult to give examples of the activities; they vary so much from one selection to the next that there is little repetition. This constant variety would also be more stimulating to a student than completing the same types of exercises over and over. Although no mention is made of it anywhere in the instructions or skills inventory, there's a section at the end of the book called Checking Understanding. This consists of four tests, one for each of four passages in the book. There are eight questions about the passage and a place to record number of words read per minute and number of correct responses. I would guess the intention is to provide you with yet another measure of reading ability here, much like what a student would encounter on a timed test. Answer key is included in book. This series was revised in 2006, and includes more nonfiction activities.




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