Silver (Si)

What is an Si Reader?

“What is the book about?” is no longer answered with a plot summary, but is answered with an analysis of the author’s theme or purpose.

Si-level readers see the author as a writer, as a human being with his/her own biases, motivations, and blind spots. They have developed a critical eye toward writing and can discuss an author’s use of literary techniques. They can locate a particular book in its genre and make comparisons across texts on a wide variety of both themes and writing techniques. They read actively, talking back to the author, questioning and probing the ideas presented. Comfort with the 21–25 academic words and/or phrases per typical chapter book page requires extensive experience as a reader. Sentences are complex, figurative language is common, and most adults cannot handle materials written at this level of complexity. Just because a reader can read a Si text fluently doesn’t mean s/he is a Si-level reader. Dig deeply into the reader’s knowledge of the vocabulary, understanding of the ideas, and ability to critique the writing before assigning him/her the Si designation. Si-level readers should be prepared for the marathon reading sessions (2–4 hours) required by college entrance exams.

Key Common Core State Standards

Literature 2:
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Literature 9:
Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible, or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
Informational 9:
Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.

Major Characteristics of an Si Book

Young adult. Vocabulary (approximately 20–24 “literary” words on a full page of text) embodies larger concepts (e.g., economy, reformation, labor union, abstract poetic metaphor). Assumes background knowledge of a proficient 9th or 10th grader, including world history, geography, science, and social studies concepts.

Formative Assessment for Teaching and Learning

The IRLA includes every Common Core State Standard for Reading, both in literature and informational text, as well as those Language standards key to reading success

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