For the first 3/4 of 1st grade and then most of 2nd grade, my son was a reluctant reader. He didn’t have trouble reading what he wanted to read, but getting him to challenge himself by picking slightly longer books became a major stress. He reads above grade level and deeply resents being forced to read harder books. “Why am I the one being punished?”
Add the fact that he despises much of the assigned reading which features little nonfiction, lots of female characters and tons of questions about emotion and motivation. Anyone else hear Jon Scieszka in the background moaning?
This is a fourth grader who reads willingly when it is something he cares about. More than once I’ve stopped myself from telling him to put down the stinking almanac already and come set the table for supper. And haven’t you read that cat care book something like 497 times?
Try explaining that although Hank the Cow Dog is great, at your grade level, and taught you the word coyote which saved your bacon in the spelling bee, BUT they want you to read harder books to make your goal. (Note to self: repeat until you can say it without rolling your eyes.)
Then he came shuffling out of school with a back pack so full he looked like a box turtle. Inside was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was either that or a municipal phone book. Being a goof, I asked why he picked that particular book so we could repeat this process in the future. “It’s 44 AR points. I’ll make it to level 10 in one book (the school’s assigned goal) and then I can read whatever I want.”
He must have seen the look on my face (who didn’t?) because later when we were reading together he assured me that it is a really good book. Seriously. He’s enjoying it very much.
So why am I not thrilled?