Monday, December 14, 2009

It's just like riding a bike

It is. Think about it. When you pedal, it takes effort - bottom line, it's not mindless (like some other common activity our kids love to do). Kids need to know that. You can't pick up a book and hope it just goes in. You have to think.

The terrain is what I want them to understand. I ask kids to explain how it feels to ride a bike up a hill. Usually, they tell me their legs hurt, they run out of breath, and they have to work very hard. I agree, and explain that when they read books that are too difficult for them, their brains are experiencing that same thing. Now, we can all ride our bikes up hills, but not for long. It isn't enjoyable (unless you are me) and you wish for some flatter road.

Next I talk about going downhill. They know that they don't have to pedal much, they can coast. The wind is whipping through their hair...yet, it gets boring ONLY going downhill. That's books that are too easy. I tell them that sometimes we need some downhill - a break - but we aren't going to grow as bike riders, nor are we going to see much because we are flying through.

Finally, the flat road (that's easy to talk about when you live in Houston - haha). That's just right books. You are working, but you can go on a long time. You are breathing, but it isn't are getting good exercise.

I actually took my boys out on their bikes the other day here at our new house in Austin. It was funny to have their response to the new "hills." I know this analogy would now have new meaning for them.

Again, this idea of selecting a just right book is foundational to any work that needs to be done. Any struggles from here can be dealt with -- if they are still picking books that are too easy or too hard, we can't even think to find out the root of any other problems until this one is out of the way.

So now what? Oh, there's soooo much more.

Let me hear about what your kids are saying about just right books or anything else reading related!

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