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An Interesting Read

Posted by on May. 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM
  • 3 Replies
2 moms liked this

Someone shared this on FaceBook & I found it interesting & thought some of you might too.

How to Create Nonreaders

by on May. 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM
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by on May. 16, 2013 at 8:09 AM

I'm not at all surprised.  My eldest is an amazing reader.  I have seriously walked into his closet to find him with one leg in his underwear, one leg out, no other clothing on, absorbed in a book.  2nd grade was a battle between myself and the teacher because of the reading log (I mostly just signed off in 1st, but in 2nd they wanted times written down).  So if I had G keep track of his time, he would do his assigned 20 minutes of the most ridiculously simple books (Bisquit Goes to School--he was on a 5th grade level at the time), and after the timer beeped, he'd put that stuff down and go and read his real stuff.  Every teacher I've ever told that to is sincerely surprised.  That article makes soooooo much sense to me!

by on May. 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM

  i really like these!

1. Quantify their reading assignments. Nothing contributes to a student’s interest in (and proficiency at) reading more than the opportunity to read books that he or she has chosen. But it’s easy to undermine the benefits of free reading. All you need to do is stipulate that students must read a certain number of pages, or for a certain number of minutes, each evening. When they’re told how much to read, they tend to just “turn the pages” and “read to an assigned page number and stop,” says Christopher Ward Ellsasser, a California high school teacher.[2] And when they’re told how long to read – a practice more common with teachers of younger students -- the results are not much better. As Julie King, a parent, reports, “Our children are now expected to read 20 minutes a night, and record such on their homework sheet. What parents are discovering (surprise) is that those kids who used to sit down and read for pleasure -- the kids who would get lost in a book and have to be told to put it down to eat/play/whatever -- are now setting the timer…and stopping when the timer dings. . . . Reading has become a chore, like brushing your teeth.”

2. Make them write reports. Jim DeLuca, a middle school teacher, summed it up: “The best way to make students hate reading is to make them prove to you that they have read. Some teachers use log sheets on which the students record their starting and finishing page for their reading time. Other teachers use book reports or other projects, which are all easily faked and require almost no reading at all. In many cases, such assignments make the students hate the book they have just read, no matter how they felt about it before the project.”[3]

3. Isolate them. I’ve been in the same book group for 25 years. We read mostly fiction, both classic and contemporary, at the rate of almost a book a month. I shudder to think how few novels I would have read over that period, and how much less pleasure (and insight) I would have derived from those I did manage to read, without the companionship of my fellow readers. Subscribers to this journal are probably familiar with literature circles and other ways of helping students to create a community of readers. You’d want to avoid such innovations – and have kids read (and write) mostly on their own -- if your goal were to cause them to lose interest in what they’re doing.

4. Focus on skills. Children grow to love reading when it’s about making meaning, when they’re confronted directly by provocative ideas, compelling characters, delicious prose. But that love may never bloom if all the good stuff is occluded by too much attention to the machinery – or, worse, the approved vocabulary for describing that machinery. Knowing the definition of dramatic irony or iambic pentameter has the same relationship to being literate that memorizing the atomic weight of nitrogen has to doing science. When I look back on my brief career teaching high school English, I think I would have been far more successful had I asked a lot fewer questions that have only one correct answer. I should have helped the kids to dive headfirst into the realm of metaphor rather than wasting their time on how a metaphor differs from a simile. “School teaches that literacy is about a set of skills, not a way to engage a part of the world,” as Eliot Washor and his colleagues recently wrote. “Consequently, many young people come to associate reading with schooling rather than with learning more about what interests them.”[4]

by on May. 16, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I really agree with letting the kids pick their own books. With Cole, who needed a little prodding with reading (partly my fault), I started picking out books that I thought he would like, but I didn't give them to him.LOL I instead checked them out without mentioning them and then silently put them into the library box at home. It's amazing that slowly, but surely, he started picking out these *hard* books and began trying to read them.

Last time, it was Puss and Boots. This time I put in a Deadpool graphic novel (Don't judge, it doesn't have sex or anything in it lol). For the first time ever, Cole **snuck** I book up to his room to read at night. He has a whole bookshelf full of books up there, but this is the first time he wanted to hide up there and read. 8) YAY!-

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