By Carolyn Harsh, retired educator and READ Center teacher

Finding content appropriate books for adults with low literacy can be a challenge. The Rapid Read novels, are short books for adult readers. They are intended for ESL students, reluctant readers, adults who struggle with literacy and those who want a good, quick read – which means they are great for READ Center students. The READ Center class at Seventh Street Christian Church are enjoying reading the books and sharing their thoughts about them.

During the fall and winter terms, the class at Seventh Street Christian Church read two short novels and participated in a follow-up book discussions for each novel.  Both novels dealt with life choices, self-confidence, financial stress, and personal relationships.  The first novel, Something Noble, was very serious and the second novel, From Scratch, a bit more lighthearted. The diversity of topics and interesting content enhanced the joy of reading for all reading levels.

The class read the books aloud two chapters at a time.  Each student had a copy of the book to take home if they wished to read on their own or share it with family members. Once a week, we would review characters, settings, plots, themes, and vocabulary.  Students did a great deal of predicting what would happen next helping them develop inference and problem solving skills. But most importantly, we read for the enjoyment of reading and the sharing of opinions and ideas.

After completing the book, students and tutors were provided with 8-10 questions for discussion.  Everyone would collect their thoughts and some students wrote their answers in preparation  for the book discussion.  We gathered in a large circle, and a very animated, thoughtful, and lively discussion ensued for both novels with total class participation.

The students are excited to begin the summer term and our book discussion choice, Search and Rescue, a mystery novel about a missing person.  This is certain to lead to much speculation and prediction as the class searches for clues through foreshadowing.