The other day I was teaching an economics lesson on Supply and Demand. The students had to write a list of 4 things they like to do when they are home. I modeled the ist with a list of my own, and I started with reading. (Which I really shouldn’t have because the lesson was about getting paid to read, so… but that’s how much I love to read.)
One of the students stated increduously, “You LIKE to read?” I replied, “Yes, that is part of how I got here, haviing this job,” or something like that. He said, “That’s not what I mean. You just LIKE to read?” I said, “Do you mean for pleasure?” Yes, I do, and I’m mad that I don’t get to do it as much as I would like because of work.” At this point, he just laughed and shook his head.
Many students don’t read for pleasure. Many adults don’t read for pleasure. Why? video games Youtube phones lack of diversity in books books are not present in the home or classroom school has sucked the joy of out of reading
So, what should we do to get our kids reading for pleasure?…
It’s scary out there! More and more, teachers are being held accountable for low test scores, low test scores from students who can’t read. Back in the 80’s, you had a small group of students in the “low” group, and the rest were average or excelled. Flash forward to 2010, and those “low” students are now the majority. Why can’t they read?!!! I have been struggling with this question for the past few years, it is so frustrating. I have tried a multitude of strategies, refusing to give up. Is it the lack of books at home? Is it just that they don’t care? Is it the lack of conversation and the almost nonexistent vocabulary? Is it …..????? What do you do with students who, year after year, program after program, show no progress, literally, none! One parent asked to have her kid tested, she is frustrated as well because her daughter has been pulled out for reading groups for years.
I volunteer to read to 3 and 4 year olds once a week. Some of them are so enthusiastic and they can point out numbers, shapes, colors,etc…, they follow the plot of a story. While others, can’t form a single word. One of the parents came to pick up her son, and I overheard the teachers telling her he was using the word “f$#@”. This same kid couldn’t form words and wouldn’t read with me the following week. Hmmmmm………
Today I had the kids that failed the reading test take it online, while I read the questions and choices aloud, they still chose the same wrong answers, while looking in the book for the answers! I tell students my students every day, “There is no magic reading dust that I can sprinkle on you, the only way to become a better reader, is to read!” If only they would listen. Or better yet, maybe we can get Tony Danza to teach them! 🙂