Building the Next Generation of Readers
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Professor Michael Opitz brings nearly four decades of reading expertise to a book series that uses recurring action-figure characters and 3D imagery to spark interest among children, with an emphasis on reaching out to boys categorized as reluctant readers.
The latest work from the professor of Reading Educational also incorporates trading cards and interactive online modules that allow children to write their own versions of the stories.
In his role, Dr. Opitz, a former elementary school teacher, helped develop the conceptual framework, the lesson design and lesson plans for the 120 books across five themes in the “Pair-It Extreme” series by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - the same publisher that in the 1960s helped vault into national prominence a reading instruction series by former UNC Education professors Paul McKee and M. Lucile Harrison.
In keeping with that tradition, the “Pair-It” books are designed for first through third grade teachers to supplement traditional curriculum and increase literacy skills. The series builds on national standards by employing key reading strategies in critical thinking, listening, speaking, and writing. “They’re written with novice teaches in mind, but experienced teachers can use them and go in different directions,” Dr. Opitz said.
While the books can be enjoyed by either gender, they were specifically written with boys in mind. That’s because research shows boys tend to struggle with reading more so than girls, Dr. Opitz said.
Dr. Opitz, a sought-out national and international speaker, is the author of several books on reading instruction and strategies. His most recent book, with contributing writer and UNC doctoral student Lindsey Guccione, focuses on effective oral reading strategies to boost comprehension among English language Learners.
Source: UNC Spotlight
Recurring action-figure characters are part of a book series CEBS Professor of Reading Dr. Michael Opitz helped develop to spark interest in reading among children, especially boys.