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Catalogue Offers Recommended Novel Titles for Classroom Use

The Ministry of Education has reminded school districts that novels used in classrooms must be evaluated and selected through policies and procedures established by the district and approved by the local school board. The Ministry of Education used to carry out these evaluation but stopped running them in 1998.

Considering the huge number of novels that must be evaluated, it would be far too costly for districts to do the work independently. That’s why Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC), after extensive consultation with school district education leaders in curriculum and resources, has established a process for creating a provincial list of recommended novels.

ERAC is an association of BC public school districts working together on software, textbook and video acquisition. It is run by an Executive Committee, comprised of senior school district administrators. Educators from throughout the province participate on various ERAC committees. Last summer, ERAC piloted a novel-evaluation process and then produced a catalogue of 141 novels (including 19 French novels) recommended for classroom use. Over the December break it ran a second evaluation session, which will be followed by another during Spring Break, adding more titles to the catalogue. ERAC arranged for training for BC teachers to evaluate the novels. The BC Teachers’ Federation coordinated the identification and selection of teacher-evaluators. Teachers read their assigned novels and then work together to evaluate them, using a rigorous ERAC evaluation process that was adapted from the existing learning resource evaluation process.

The evaluation criteria focus on: intended audience (including reading level), quality of the literature, and social considerations. Each novel is identified by descriptors, such as Canadian, BC or aboriginal content, curricular and instructional suitability and genre. Each successful evaluation includes a recommended grade range, specific reasons for recommendation and identified social consideration for teacher selection and instructional planning.

To view the novel and each title’s evaluation content, please got to ERAC’s website, www.bcerac.ca, click on Novels in the top menu bar and then click on Current Novel Catalogue in the drop-down menu.

If you have any other questions, please contact your district’s ERAC District Learning Resource Contact (listed on ERAC’s website) or ERAC’s Barb Hyde at bhyde@bcerac.ca or 604-713-5920.

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