Thursday, December 10, 2009

Did homework go smoother?

Well, I am happy to say that last night, we DID get all our reading done. I stood my ground and the boys are starting to see a routine. Sam is reading his Cam Jansen mystery book -- he's hooked on the series. Ben has an obsession with space right now, so he was teaching me all he had read about the formation of stars and black holes (which I still have only a rudimentary understanding), and Matthew is reading a book called How to Steal a Dog.

Now each of them teach me something about how to get kids reading, and also some obstacles too. Let me start with Sam. Sam is a reader who gets excited about series -- once he has read one, he feels more confident when he reads another, because 1, he has successfully completed one before, and 2, he knows what the text structure is like, so he knows how to predict what is going to happen (I will talk about knowing text structure and genre = understanding what we read another day). If I try to tell Sam about another great book, he will push it aside until he feels he has read enough in the current series. I don't bug him about it. Hey, he's reading! I do, however, ask him how the current book is the same and different from the prior one. That keeps him thinking -- deeper.

Ben -- well, the passion and interest is the key for him. He is tackling concepts and words far above his first grade level simply because he WANTS to understand. Now, as a mom of boys, I have to say that sometimes it is hard to find what they are passionate about. Boys like humor, bathroom talk, and blood and guts...sometimes things that we think are "inappropriate" in the classroom. I think, however, if that's what it takes, let them read it and get the idea that reading is enjoyable! My boys all started with Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and have read several Captain Underpants books too. But eventually, they realized that reading other types of books was just as pleasurable, for different reasons. Ben loves to learn about space. So I am letting him read tons of nonfiction about it, yet suggesting other books along the way that relate. We are currently reading a book about the Universe (fiction) written by Lucy and Steven Hawking. He loves it because he can follow the story with all his space knowledge (I am learning along the way) and I am loving it because growing up, the Hawking family lived next door to me when he was working at Caltech in Pasadena, California (that's another cool story for another day).

Ok, now Matt. Matt has always been a voracious reader, yet he tends to either be reading 4 books at once, or he is reading so quickly that he misses nuances in the books. He is reading How to Steal a Dog -- for the third time. He tells me this time he is really making discoveries and getting things he missed the first (and second) time. My work with him is not to hound, but to encourage. I check in with him about 10 minutes into his 25 per day...I will just ask him to read where he's at, and then to give me a quick update what he just read. I can't read all the books entirely that he is reading (although if you have the time to, that's fabulous) so I don't know all about it. But if he is understanding and keeping up with the page or two that he is reading with me, then I can trust he is comprehending. If I notice he is missing ideas just in the small one or two pages with me...RED FLAG. Either he is reading too fast, he's not focusing, or this isn't a just right book for him. Each day, before he takes out his book, I tell him that I can't wait to find out what is happening with his characters in How to Steal a Dog. This sends a message that I am expecting him to continue in that book until he finishes, and that I am interested, so there is motivation for him also.

OH MAN...tomorrow...Just Right Books...

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your new blog! It makes me feel like at Reed when I could seek you out for your expertise:) Miss you, hope Austin is treating you well.