Thursday, February 23, 2012


The older I get, the more I find my philosophy of education changing. I've spent 12.5 years with students who either HATE reading, or are embarrassed because of what reading level they are on. I've heard so many different philosophies over the years from some really good people, but honestly, it wasn't until yesterday that I heard one that matched mine exactly.

I was in the library with my students, and a class was ready to have their library lesson. I'm blessed to have such a FABULOUS librarian, who does an AMAZING job with students in our building. (So does our Library Assistant as well!) Our librarian shared a fabulous story that had me fighting back tears, and it matched my deepest thoughts about children and reading.

She actually shared a story about her son. While her son isn't a reluctant reader now, (and honestly I don't know that he ever was one) he enjoyed books at a young age and found a series that hooked him into reading. She shared that even as her son grew up, he continued to read a second grade series, just because he liked the series. She stated that the characters in the series were almost like friends to him, and he kept reading the series to find out what happened to his favorite characters. While he could read higher level things, and certainly did, he still collected the series that he enjoyed even as a young child. In her talk, she shared that the students were to NEVER LET ANYONE TALK DOWN TO THEM because of WHAT THEY WANTED TO READ. I stood there, and took a breath so as not to tear up in front of my students.

The longer I teach, the more I have come to realize that it doesn't matter what they are reading, AS LONG AS THEY ARE READING. It is my constant prayer that I will find that right book, or series, that will hook a child like the young boy in the librarian's story. I want to help turn "reluctant" readers, into fanatical readers. I want to help them find that book just for them, whether that's Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Robots, or whatever their interests may be.

I recently found an author, Patrick Carman, who is meeting reluctant readers right where they're at. I've read one series written by him, SKELETON CREEK, that definitely meets today's teens in such a way that they can become those fanatical readers after reading one book in the series. I'm now reading DARK EDEN (also by Patrick Carman) and tonight downloaded to my iPhone 3:15. 3:15 is a series of SHORT stories that begin with a two minute introductory video, a story that can be read in fifteen minutes or less, and a one minute finale video. (3:15 has a website as well, and the stories are written by Patrick Carmen) I did one story tonight, and can see some of my very own reluctant readers enjoying the 3:15 series. Last night I did a little research on Patrick Carman and LOVED a quote he had on his site that said:

"...reaching readers right where they're at today..."

That's my goal in a nutshell too. While I'm not the author writing them, I am the teacher always on the hunt for a new book to grab my students and make them want to read more, more, more!

In time, my prayer is that the reluctant readers of today will become fanatical readers for the rest of their lives.

GREAT...with a GREAT book in hand!

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