Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Hate Reading

I Hate Reading
The assignment was for students to write a note or letter to me about themselves as a reader. The directions were intentionally vague. I really wanted to hear what students felt about reading.
The student that wrote this note has been working fairly hard this year, with a good attitude. He participates in class. He is friendly to me, though not so much so to peers. He wrote this letter honestly, with no intent to be mean--according to him, these are his true feelings.
So, where do we go from here?

6 comments:

The Momindant said...

He mentions three things he would read, if he could choose. What do these have in common? Is it action & adventure, more of a boy-oriented theme? How much non-fiction has he tried? It seems that we don't give boys the stuff that makes them want to "crack the code." I've had great success with beginning readers by giving them the Dorling-Kindersley Eyewitness encyclopedia-type books. Lots of glossy, museum quality photos that inspire the reader to decipher the accompanying text. And the text is well-written. Dozens of interesting titles for boys: Knight, Mummy, Sharks, Viking, Explorers, Castle, Money, etc. A good way to get girls interested in science and math, as well. And most libraries have these books. I got my collection at a used bookstore for about five bucks each, and I find that kids come back to use them up into high school, as a starting place for class presentations. Good luck, glad you care.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Does he know that Gary Paulson has written more than just one book? Has he tried magazines?

Did you try asking him what he especially hates and why?

Based on his note, it's clear reading is a struggle for him. But his writing won't get better unless he reads more.

Has he tried graphic novels? Volcano! is supposed to be very good (I haven't managed to score a copy yet...)

How does he feel about fantasy? I know a lot of boys who really get into the dragonlance/warcraft type novels.

How about something like "Boy's Life?" with useful outdoors/adventure articles?

Stacy said...

I'll preface my comment by saying I'm not a teacher, I just play one at home. We home school.

Lots of boys hate the kind of literature that's frequently taught in public schools. If you're offering enough choices within the classroom, then possibly he just hasn't found the right book to get him hooked. Rather than trying to force it, I think I'd just make an effort to talk to him about things he does like and the books he's mentioned he's enjoyed.

I don't necessarily think everyone is wired to enjoy fiction. My husband has an MBA and reads tons of non-fiction, but in 17 years of marrige has read probably 1 novel.

I would try to cultivate enjoyment is some genre in this boy, but I would also let him know that not everyone has to love fiction. Is he permited to read non-fiction, magazines, newspapers or manga in your class?

Anonymous said...

Has this student been tested for reading disabilities?

Mr. McGuire said...

Thank you for the comments. To answer a few questions:

Students in Reading Workshop choose their own book. He can read anything he wants.

In our resource room, we have over 35 different books written by Paulsen.

Deirdre, I totally agree with this statement and spend a lot of time connecting the two.

Based on his note, it's clear reading is a struggle for him. But his writing won't get better unless he reads more.

Stacy, I hope you are right. Lots of boys hate the kind of literature that's frequently taught in public schools. If you're offering enough choices within the classroom, then possibly he just hasn't found the right book to get him hooked My goal is to find that book that gets him started.

Laura said...

Please take the advice Mr. McGuire is giving you about reading. I have always thought Mr. McGuire is smart and I believe he is smart because he reads about a lot of different subjects. I have never read for pleasure so I miss out on a lot of interest, knowledge and entertainment that Mr. McGuire gets from reading.
It would help to find something you are really interested in and find books about that. Maybe I should take my own advice.