21 December 2013

The Problem of Resentful Reading

Fifth-grade teacher Pernille Ripp in School Library Journal on “Why Reading Sucks: Talking honestly with kids might make them more passionate readers”:

On posterboard, I wrote the heading, “Why Reading Sucks,” and asked the kids to name their own reasons for why this might be the case. At first, the children darted glances at one another, not quite sure where this crazy teacher was headed. Then one student finally blurted out, “I don’t think a teacher has ever asked me that!” . . .

When we looked over the list we had created together, I agreed that these were valid reasons, indeed, why reading may not be the most favorite thing to do for a child or even many adults. Some children hate sitting still; others find reading boring, time consuming, or restrictive. They resent that they are forced to read certain books or at a certain time. They feel pressured, and some believe that they are bad readers. What it all adds up to is a miserable reading experience, and that is what we have to fight.

I thanked the kids for their honesty, and then asked them for their solutions. One after another my students raised their hands. “Can we pick our own books?” “Yes,” I replied. “Do we have to read a certain amount of minutes and log it?” “No,” I said. “I expect you to read every night and you only log it in [class].” “Do we have to finish every book we start?” “No,” I assured them.
Ripp originally wrote this piece for her blog in September. She also offers a survey asking kids how they are as readers.

The day after the SLJ site published Ripp’s essay, she had a baby.

1 comment:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

She sounds like a good teacher.