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Old 10-02-2011, 09:10 PM
 
11,630 posts, read 19,926,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
I do see merit in varying what is read to provide options that appeal to as wide a range of interests as possible. I also see merit in providing instances where students are given choices in regard to what they are reading. I had such freedoms, myself, in my schooling, and offer the same to my students.

The purpose of school, however, is not primarily to cater to every student's individual taste. It is, after all, a preparation for life post-school, where you don't always get to choose only your favorite things and decline to do anything that doesn't fit that category.
Well the subject of the thread is getting kids to read for pleasure and comprehension. One of the ways to get kids to read for pleasure is to make it a pleasure to read. That means allowing them some choice in reading material.

When a class is reading a book as an assignment it is inevitable that there will be some kids who like the book and others that will not. However, it is not impossible to allow for some choice in reading material. And choice does not need to be restricted to novels. Plenty of kids like to read but really like non fiction.

My oldest son's favorite books are:

The Art of War
Flags of Our Fathers
What it Takes to be #1: Vince Lombardi on Leadership

He doesn't read a whole lot of fiction. But he reads AND he enjoys it. Unfortunately, he has to do most of his pleasure reading over the summer because his school assignments allow him very little choice in reading material. As parents, we always allowed him to read what he liked. When he was little he liked books on natural disasters, sports, and ancient civilizations. He didn't want to read stories and he hasn't changed much.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,884 posts, read 40,063,718 times
Reputation: 48779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
Well the subject of the thread is getting kids to read for pleasure and comprehension. One of the ways to get kids to read for pleasure is to make it a pleasure to read. That means allowing them some choice in reading material.

When a class is reading a book as an assignment it is inevitable that there will be some kids who like the book and others that will not. However, it is not impossible to allow for some choice in reading material. And choice does not need to be restricted to novels. Plenty of kids like to read but really like non fiction.

My oldest son's favorite books are:

The Art of War
Flags of Our Fathers
What it Takes to be #1: Vince Lombardi on Leadership

He doesn't read a whole lot of fiction. But he reads AND he enjoys it. Unfortunately, he has to do most of his pleasure reading over the summer because his school assignments allow him very little choice in reading material. As parents, we always allowed him to read what he liked. When he was little he liked books on natural disasters, sports, and ancient civilizations. He didn't want to read stories and he hasn't changed much.
For what it's worth, I completely agree. I usually preferred reading fiction as a student, but during my years as a journalist, became more inclined toward nonfiction, and greatly enjoy it now, along with fiction. I'm trying to remember if there was ever any instance in my primary or secondary schooling where I'd have been penalized for choosing nonfiction to fiction for those assignments where we were allowed to choose our reading material. I don't think so; now that I think of it, I do have memories of students giving reports on biographies, etc., and I also remember reading nonfiction in order to write papers for history classes and the like.

Choice in reading material is definitely a good thing.

So is teaching specific material, given that it's assigned in order to study specific elements of literature, etc. Teachers do choose the books they assign for specific reasons, at times. But, absolutely, there should be room for offering choice in reading material.

I think the problem lies more in students who wouldn't choose ANYthing, because they've been indoctrinated in the "assigned work = must by definition suck" mentality, and already have a mental block against reading assignments, no matter what level of flexibility is embedded.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:32 PM
 
15,474 posts, read 17,131,868 times
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I don't remember ever logging my reading when I was in elementary school. I read incessantly and would have been very annoyed to have to try to keep track of the number of minutes I read.
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:02 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,493 posts, read 16,623,333 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
I don't remember ever logging my reading when I was in elementary school. I read incessantly and would have been very annoyed to have to try to keep track of the number of minutes I read.
Same here, lol. And what if your employer did that to you? We often treat kids in ways that we would never put up with as adults.

I do believe in stretching them though and "making" them read some books. Esp ones they would never choose on their own, b/c many discover surprises this way--like a love for Shakespeare.
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:54 AM
 
Location: So Ca
14,416 posts, read 13,943,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
I don't remember ever logging my reading when I was in elementary school.
It probably wasn't necessary back then. When I was in elementary school, the only interfering electronic device was televsion, which had 3 channels, all in black and white. Books were far more interesting.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,095 posts, read 23,184,401 times
Reputation: 7966
Quote:
Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
A recent thread has been sidetracked into talking about how to get children to read for enjoyment but also for comprehension. Many teachers use reading logs that require students to fill out worksheets every time they read a book.
It's been argued that this sucks the pleasure out of reading but it makes sense as a method to reading comprehension. Does reading enjoyment just come with time?

What do you think is the best way to encourage children to read for pleasure and with comprehension?
My niece use to love to read until her school started required summer reading. Prior to this, she would make frequent trips to the library for story time and to pick out books to read. She now associates the library with school homework and doesn't want to go anymore.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:05 AM
 
11,630 posts, read 19,926,719 times
Reputation: 12106
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
I'm trying to remember if there was ever any instance in my primary or secondary schooling where I'd have been penalized for choosing nonfiction to fiction for those assignments where we were allowed to choose our reading material. I don't think so; now that I think of it, I do have memories of students giving reports on biographies, etc., and I also remember reading nonfiction in order to write papers for history classes and the like.
There are some assignments that are impossible to complete if you choose a non fiction book. There are others where it makes no difference. I don't think the problem is in the assignments. School assignments are what they are and kids have to do the reading associated with assignments. The problem is with these silly reading logs. Some teachers require kids to choose from specific genre, or to identify characters, or detail the plot of a book on the logs. If you choose non fiction none of that is possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
So is teaching specific material, given that it's assigned in order to study specific elements of literature, etc. Teachers do choose the books they assign for specific reasons, at times. But, absolutely, there should be room for offering choice in reading material.

I think the problem lies more in students who wouldn't choose ANYthing, because they've been indoctrinated in the "assigned work = must by definition suck" mentality, and already have a mental block against reading assignments, no matter what level of flexibility is embedded.
I have no problem with there being assigned reading. Nobody likes being told what to do 100% of the time. When kids are doing reading for "pleasure" it should be a pleasure not an assignment.

I am so glad my sons are past the age of reading logs and the like. In middle/high school they are permitted to read whatever they like outside their classes without having to log it, analyze it, report on it, etc... What they read does not have to be on an AR list or approved by anyone in school. They can just read. Because they like it.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,095 posts, read 23,184,401 times
Reputation: 7966
By third grade I read Treasure Island and Great Expectations. I devoured "The Three Investigators" series, and tore into a PG version of stories of Greek Mythology and that was in the mid 70s.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stepka View Post
Yes, I think a big part of the problem is that people, including teachers, underestimate what kids are capable of reading. I'm over 50 now and I can remember when kids were able to read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle in first grade, Heidi in 4th grade, and Jane Eyre in 8th. Nowadays Jane Eyre is considered college reading and the others are considered too difficult for kids to read. They often give them "junk books" b/c they don't think the kids can read anything more difficult, but these books give their minds very little to grab onto and they soon get bored. Think of it this way--if the story is good enough, they will get sucked in and read beyond their level just to get at the story and in the process they will get stretched. That's why I think Harry Potter is so good for kids--both of my dd's started reading them before they were ready for it and may have missed some of it b/c it was past their level but they went back and read again. And then each one got more difficult and complex and fatter and they read them all.


I think that parents have the greatest amount of influence in teaching kids to love reading. Teachers can only do so much--they can teach them to read but they can't make them love it. Only a loving mom and/or dad can do that. (or grandma/grandpa/loving caregiver)
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Old 12-24-2018, 07:35 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
35,361 posts, read 43,569,024 times
Reputation: 58658
I always let my kids read until they fell asleep. That way, they were in bed (happy me), but they still felt like they were getting away with something (happy them).

One was a natural bookworm, and the others, not so much, but every bit helps.
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Old 12-24-2018, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
2,792 posts, read 1,018,955 times
Reputation: 5414
Read TO children, without pictures, before they know how to read themselves. Start early to solidify in their minds the link between written language and comprehension of ideas.
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