I recently finished taking a ALSC online class, “Reading Instruction and Children’s Books,” taught by Katherine Todd. It is one of several courses offered from ALSC via ALA Online Learning. I’d like to echo Rebecca Dash’s blog entry (“What the Heck is Level Q?” posted Tuesday, May 12th, 2009) and say that I also thought it was well worth my time.
The content of the course was relevant and something that I really felt that I needed to know about at work. The class briefly covered four different reading theories, and then looked at different ways that grade levels for reading materials are assigned. I felt like I was opening up a mysterious box at long last, so I really enjoyed doing the reading and homework. The best part of the course for me was the final project, since it forced me to really think about what I learned. My project was a short tutorial for my co-workers that shared some of the basics of what I had learned in the class, so I felt like I had finished the class with a tangible outcome.
I also appreciated the online format. It was a busy summer, and like many libraries, we are short staffed. It would have been difficult for me to go away to a workshop, but the online format meant that I didn’t have to go anywhere. It also meant that the learning time was spread out over several weeks, so there was a long period of time for the information to sink in. There was also more opportunity to work with the concepts in different ways. During the course, small groups made wikis on one of the reading theories and we assigned grade levels to various reading materials (books, magazines, and websites) using a variety of tools. I think that I will retain much more of what I learned than if I had attended a concentrated workshop.
I would encourage all of you to check out what is being offered and make suggestions for new courses as well!
Ann Hotta, Berkeley Public Library