Thursday, August 26, 2010

The sly reading avoider...

Yep, I have a couple. I need you to know that getting some kids to read, much less fall in love with reading, is not instantaneous, even for me...

I worked with one young man in particular today -- we conferred not once, not twice, but three times -- in the span of 20 minutes.

Initially, I noticed him selecting and abandoning several books from the bin on his desk early on. I knew I would need to help, fast. Conference one, I had him bring the book he had most recently picked out of the bin. It was about the Titanic, and he talked on about how he was interested in it because of a tour he had taken aboard a fighter ship.

I gushed about his great choice...and I previewed...we read the blurb, and he read a little to me. I pointed out how exciting it was that words in the book that were highlighted in gray were found in the glossary in the back, and we talked about how important those were to know. He was excited, so I told him to read the first 10 pages and check back with me.

No less than 5 minutes later, the book was back in the bin.

Round two. We talked about why he put it back. He wasn't exactly clear why. So we talked about other interests he had. Sports, he said, were his thing. So we headed to the sports bin, where I carefully selected four different books. He liked the basketball one (Sport Shorts) and we went through preview, blurb, reading, and goal setting. One chapter that was 5 pages long.

Back he went, and back to the bin went the book.

Third shot -- go get book and talk about why he abandoned...try again. What shows does he watch? Movies? I have a whole bin of books based on characters from tv and movies, and here's why. Some kids need that to motivate them, and some kids have trouble making images in their minds -- they need to have seen it to help kick start independent envisioning.

He chose a SpongeBob graphic book. Ok, so it wasn't my fave, but he was interested.

He did end up leaving my class and the book had been I didn't win this time.

But I am not frustrated. Just challenged.

Now I have questions -- Does he read at home? Does someone read to him at home? Are there attention problems? When are situations where he focuses for periods of time? Where is he when this happens?

I also don't think he personalizes things much -- let me explain. I don't think he thinks much about his likes and dislikes -- I think he does things he likes, but pressed to tell me favorites, I bet it's pretty general.

So that is actually where I am going to start with him. Teach him how to think about books, and activities in general, and start to be aware of what he likes and doesn't like, and why. Getting him to verbalize that will tell me volumes and help me be able to diagnose the issue and get him books that fit him.

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