I was so excited when I got my first teaching job as a Reading teacher in a middle school. I enjoy working with middle school aged kids more than the little bitty ones. The little bitty kids terrify me! I also LOVE LOVE LOVE anything with Reading or creative writing.
I thought I would come in to my classroom and I would share all of my books and passion for Reading with kids. That I would have book clubs full of kiddos who love to read as well and we could talk about all of the middle grade and young adult books that we love…
The harsh reality was that, like Math, kids love or hate Reading. There’s no middle ground. I have bought books to teach kids how to improve their reading and comprehension skills, how to teach phonics, and how to hook young readers. But in all honesty, I have about 10 kids total who are actual serial readers. And don’t get me wrong, I so enjoy talking with them and discussing bookish topics with them but I wish more than anything it was possible to reach more of my students and to teach them that Reading does not have to be a chore. Unfortunately, more kids look at Reading and likes it’s “work” and not “play”.
And those who totter the line between liking and tolerating reading are those who read book to film adaption novels like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Maze Runner, Percy Jackson, The City of Ember. Which are all outstanding novels but there’s more to the world of reading! What about A Night Divided, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Narnia, The Thickety, etc. Those novels deserve love too.
When I polled my kids at the beginning of the year, most of them who enjoy reading, answered that they were read to as a child. Those who didn’t enjoy reading either were not read to or they do not own any books. I can’t imagine living in a home without books!
I keep a pretty well stocked classroom library for any of those who wish to borrow books and I have even tried setting incentives with my students. “Read any 5 books and write me reviews on them and we will have a pizza party!” My mom is the librarian at my school and we started a Reading Program where if the kids read a certain number of books by May then she will get to take them on a field trip to Six Flags. So far I think there is only about 3 in the entire school who will be going.
I can’t tell if it’s the generation, the age they are at or what but based off my poll at the beginning of the year I am definitely going to read to my future children. And if we have time in class I try to read a novel out loud to them. All it takes is for them to find the one books that makes them fall in love with reading or even a specific genre!
A Hopeful Teacher