Friday, December 26, 2014

Favorite comments of '14: Deirdre Mundy, Auntie Ann, ChemProf, C_T, and kcab

On Reading for pleasure has dropped precipitously:

Deirdre Mundy said...
One teacher in our area makes all the third graders fill out SQRRR journals for their 'fun' reading at home. She's teaching that SQRRR is the way 'good readers' read, even when they're reading a novel.

That's a good way to make reading into drudge-work....

Auntie Ann said...
Our kid's school dictates their pleasure reading as well as their classroom reading. They read a couple of books for class, but then they also have to read about 6 additional books over the course of the year that they have had pre-approved and that have to be from a variety of places around the world. They also can not be fantasy or sci-fi, which eliminates a large chunk of the books kids actually want to read.

This killed our now-8th grader's reading habits. She's a slow and indifferent reader at best, and getting through 6 pleasure books is a stretch for her during the school year. When her 6th grade year started she was in the middle of reading some of the Redwall books. She had to put those aside and pick up the pre-approved ones. She has pretty much never read for pleasure since.

Fortunately, our 6th grader reads a lot and has kept up his actual pleasure reading in addition to the books for school.


I've also found the transition between the age 9-12 shelves and the teen and adult shelves particularly difficult. Way too much of the teen stuff is "Paranormal Teen Romance" (I actually saw an entire section with that title above it at B&N a couple years ago.) Our boy struggles to find something that engages him. He's spent most of his time this year rereading his old favorites.     

ChemProf said...
There is also the Accelerated Reading program, where students are supposed to get points for their reading outside of school by filling out detail-based quizzes. I've heard many parents complain that it kills pleasure reading.
C T said...
Except for the summer library reading contest (free prizes!), I opt my children out of any kind of reading log at the school they attend part-time. I don't even let them participate in the school's Read-a-Thon. Such events and reading logs teach children that reading is a chore they have to be forced to do or hyped into doing for a fundraiser. My children already see both parents constantly reading and have access to a wealth of children's books, both ours and the library's. They love to read for their own pleasure and learning's sake, and I can't imagine any assignment worth damaging that love.
They do have mom-assigned readings that are short and ability-appropriate, and I usually have them tell me a short summary of what they read and answer any questions I may ask about the readings. They're only 7 and 9 years old; surely the close reading and analysis can wait until they have enough knowledge and maturity to make their analyses real instead of just artful regurgitation.
Oh, and I'm with you, Auntie Ann, on being worried about finding them good literature once my kids hit the teen shelves. How many money-making paranormal romance books can publishers milk out of the Twilight craze? If your library has the historical fiction books of Sally Watson, your 8th-grader might like those. I loved them when I discovered them in high school even though they were targeted to a younger age group. Image Cascade Publishing recently reprinted them all.
kcab said...
My HS junior has recently started reading for pleasure again, sometimes to avoid work, I think. There are several reasons she read less for pleasure the last two years: un-fun schoolwork associated with outside reading (reading logs that consisted of 5 essays per log, 4 logs per semester, required and a major part of grade), lots of homework in lots of hard classes, and too many video games.

Her tendency to read for pleasure hasn't been permanently damaged; she's back to making frequent trips to the library and yesterday told me about several books that she wanted to read this summer.

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