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04 February 2016 @ 11:04 am
Well-intentioned does not equal good practice  
Recently, a post offered some ideas for getting boys to read. You can read the post here: http://www.theedadvocate.org/how-to-get-boys-excited-about-reading/. Of course, I clicked on the link. I am always interested in motivating readers, all readers. And since I am a girl, I often turn to the work of others to see what I might be missing. Not much as it turns out from this piece.

While the two bold-faced ideas are good suggestions, it is the content under each section that gives me pause. FIND OUT WHAT THEY ARE INTERESTED IN: yes, this is a great idea for ALL readers, boys and girls, young and old, skilled and not-as-skilled, avid and dormant, etc. Choice is a big factor here, and I applaud choice, I encourage choice, I recommend choice. However, I do cringe a bit at giving kids an interest inventory that suggests books to the child upon completion. And I wonder where the teacher's role is in this program. I worry that use of programs such as the one mentioned (and I am not familiar with this program) gives the power, the autonomy, the opportunity to a computer. Instead of the teacher being able to talk to a child and ascertain her or his interests, the child is given a program. It seems too impersonal to me. I want to connect to the reader. Using a program as intermediary distances me from the reader. And, as I suspected from the get-go, there are quizzes. Sigh.

KEEP THEM MOTIVATED is also an excellent suggestion. Feeding them books and then helping them become more independent in their selection seems logical. However, we turn again to a quiz as motivational. I never see an adult in a bookstore or book fair asking about whether or not there are quizzes available. I have never read a book time and again so I could take a quiz again (and most programs do not permit this in any event).

So, let's boil the advice down to the basics:

1. give kids choice in what they read.
2. if they do not know what they would like to read, let's talk to them about what is of interest to them and then help them find some books.
3. let's talk to them after they have read, or have them share their reading with classmates instead of taking a quiz.
4. let's provide more time by removing the need to quiz over chapters, etc.
5. let's read entire books.
6. let's share our own reading with kids.
7. let's talk about books to introduce them to kids.
8. let's make sure they have access to books in and out of school.
9. let's build classroom and school libraries.
10. let's read, read, read ourselves.
 
 
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