Learning to Read

Class: Why do we have to read? I HATE reading.
Me: You don’t hate reading. You hate being forced to read and analyze old books.
Class: NO. We pretty much hate reading.

When does this shift take place? Today I asked the kids. Their answer: 6th-7th grade. When all that analyzing stuff starts. When “close reading” becomes the norm.
They don’t read for story anymore. English teachers change an amazing adventure into a science more mundane than anything we find in the classroom. I mean seriously, epistrophe? Who cares?!?!
My best friends are English teachers and I know me saying this drives them crazy. But ENGLISH teachers are killing books as much as video games and the computer.

So today I had a little chat with my j classes. I told them they HAD to read when they’re done with work in my classroom. And then we talked about the difference in the science of reading (grammar, literary terms, analysis) and the pleasure of reading (OMG, Hatchet is the best book ever!). And you know what? They all knew and loved Hatchet. It’s one of the last books they all read and had fun reading.
I gave them a list of some books to try. And I told them there’s nothing wrong with the three chapter rule. If it’s not good in three chapters, I certainly don’t waste my time reading them. We’ll see if it makes a difference. I sure hope it does.

Speaking of….our curriculum coordinator is looking for great high school/junior high level books boys can connect with. Any suggestions?

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