I have recently started looking for books that I want to read aloud or have in my classroom library. As I was browsing, some articles appeared about why some children dislike reading and how to help them progress. This interested me personally because I hated to read in school, and some of these reasons could fit. The one I ended up reading was a list of “10 reasons non-readers don’t read.” Reading can either be a rainbow or a ruin, depending on if the student enjoys it or not.
After reading the article, some that stood out included: “they always get put into the slow group,” “they have no interest in the material required,” and “they expect to be tested and fail.” I think these three are probably the reasons for most children. I remember hating reading comprehension because I knew I wasn’t going to do well – it still bothered me recently when I had to an entry test for graduate school 😮 The article had a good solution about telling your students that reading isn’t a chore, but a lifelong skill. I also didn’t understand why I was forced to read the books that I thought were boring. I only discovered that I liked reading a few years ago as a summer camp counselor where I was in the wilderness without WiFi or cell service – I fell in love with the mystery genre! It is important for teachers to “find something so compelling that students forget they are reading” (Johnson). This quote is inspiring because reading should be a fun experience where you must know what happens next. Being placed in the “slow” group can put a damper on how the students view reading and themselves. Everyone in the class knows which groups are accelerated and who needs more help – this can make it difficult to build confidence for the students who are struggling. Having group names where no one knows the difference (like colors, animals, shapes, etc) will really help soften the mood. As a future elementary teacher, it is necessary that I can understand the various reasons behind a student not enjoying to read. Many teachers automatically jump to an inability to decode the words, but this is not always the case. The pressure and act of forcing students to read required texts for homework can make reading into a chore or a task they do at school. Writing can also be affected in a similar way by having numerous papers due and an intense focus on setup or grammar. Try to keep a positive light on reading and learning new vocabulary as a class. I am very excited to read books to my future students – I will probably read lots to the Kindergarteners I work with next term 🙂