Don’t let the title fool you. It’s Day One of Bloganuary for me since I signed up yesterday. I’m beginning with today’s prompt. I’ll never catch up, but maybe I’ll use two prompts in some of my posts.
For my outside-of-the-home career, I worked with children at the elementary and middle-school levels. Many of my students had learning disabilities in reading and math. I watched them struggle day in and day out in all of their subjects.
So, yes, I’m passionate about not only children learning how to read, but to enjoy reading at whatever level fits them. In my job, it tore at my heart when they’d get frustrated and refuse to give reading a chance.
A few years before I retired, our middle school began a reading pilot program for our struggling readers. The curriculum taught the early skills needed to read, beginning with phonetics. Middle school kids hated having to pronounce words phonetically. They screamed that they weren’t first graders. Yet, some of them read at lower grade levels.
We did periodic testing, and it didn’t take long before we saw improvements in their reading and test scores. Since it was a pilot program, we had a lot of eyes watching our progress, so we were pleased to see test scores improve throughout the year. Once the kids saw their improvements, they didn’t complain as much.
One student in the pilot program still stands out today. She whole-heartedly hated reading and grumbled a lot in the program. One day in her grade level classroom, during free-reading time, she had her book propped on her desk as if reading. Instead, she doodled. I asked what she liked to read, but she didn’t like to read anything.
After glancing around the room to see what others were reading, I took her a graphic novel and asked if it looked interesting to her. She nodded and reached for it.
In this context, the word “graphic” does not mean “adult” or “explicit.”
Graphic novels are books written and illustrated in the style of a comic
book. To be considered a graphic novel, rather than a picture book or
illustrated novel, the story is told using a combination of words and
pictures in a sequence across the page.Scholastic.com
From that day on, she brought a graphic novel to class for free reading and read it! She bought one at the school book fair, and I saw her reading in other classes too. Sometimes when she should have been paying attention. I smiled to myself and felt proud that she finally discovered the joy of reading.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy the upcoming week.
If you’re in a cold climate like I am, stay warm. ~MJ
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