The other day I had a wonderful conversation with one of my older students. He was brimming over with enthusiasm for his senior-level College Reading class.
It’s really more a structured study period than a class, in which students come in every day and spend the entire 48-minute period silently reading a book of their choice. When they’re finished they write a brief summary of the book and then select another.
The whole point, of course, is to get college-bound seniors used to the discipline of sustained, focused reading. And this particular student was loving it!
As soon as he left I grabbed my notebook and jotted down everything I could remember of what he had said so I could share with you this glimpse into the head of an older, more mature student. (Read on, dear parents of tweens, and take heart!):
- I like being forced to read for 48 minutes every day, and I like how calm and quiet the room is.
- I’m enjoying the book I chose to read, and I’m also enjoying the book I’m reading for English class (“Grendel”), which I didn’t expect to like; I think that’s because the College Reading class has put me into a mindset where I am now interested in reading.
- My dad reads all the time. He reads everything, and he understands it all. I admire him and want to be like him.
- I feel bad now for the years that have passed when I didn’t read. I wish they had started this class earlier, not in 12th grade.
- When I do my homework, I often feel distracted. I feel like I work for an hour but only get 10-minutes worth of work done. I like turning off the computer and just working, but that’s hard to do because so much of my homework is online.
- I like reading books better than reading on a screen. There’s something satisfying about feeling the paper and turning the pages.
Here are some lessons parents and teachers can take:
- Parents should not be afraid to designate Reading Time, Study Time, No Electronics Time, etc…kids may complain but in the long-run they will appreciate having had this structure imposed upon them.
- Parents and kids should brainstorm together about how to limit distractions.
- Parents might want to ask teachers for textbooks or go online and buy used copies.
- Kids DO mature! (even if soooooo slowly…..)
- A taste for reading often needs to be purposely cultivated. Your child can become a reader!