This morning I was reading over some of the late-night slicers, and came across this fantastic slice about a little boy who whole-heartedly believes in the magic. I started thinking about the magic I still believe in, and I think it all comes from books. I LOVE to read. Love. It. And I'd like my students to still have some magic in their lives.
Out of 145 students, ages 14-18, I think I might have 4 that like to read. Or rather, four that will openly admit to it. Why? How does this happen? Where are we losing these kids? We took some of our volleyball girls to read to a pre-K class and those kids LOVED it. They love to read. And yet, the whole bus ride back to the high school, the girls were talking about how much they hated reading. I would say maybe through elementary, most kids love to read. Where, when, and why are we losing that magic? Why are my teens suddenly so turned off by it?
Typically, I tell my students, you don't hate to read, you just haven't found what you like yet. I keep a small "library" (more like a small cluster) in my class of all kinds of books to recommend to my kids. Every year when the public library has their huge sale, I buy as many books as I can from different genres. I even stock some comics and magazine for those with lower attention spans. But for the life of me, I cannot find a way to get them to *WANT* to read.
On the very rare "catch-up" day I allow, if students are caught up in my class, they can work on something for another teacher, or they can do something "academic". I do let them draw. I do allow Trivia Crack because they are learning when they play (shhh! don't tell them!) But I recommend they read, and I recommend a book to those who don't have anything. There is just SO MUCH resistance!!
Student: No thanks, I don't read.
Me: I have all kinds of things...
Student: No, I really hate to read.
Me: I have magazines! Body builders, motorcycles, runners, seventeen, seventeen latina edition, cars, camping, fashion, home decoration...
Student: Nah. I'm good.
This morning, it is cloudy and cool, the windows in the house are open to let in that fresh morning breeze. On the porch, there are freshly planted flowers and a swing. I know I should stay inside and be social. We did come here to visit my brother and his girlfriend, after all... but that swing is calling to me. I just want to sit outside and READ! I want to smell that freshly turned dirt, listen to the birds, and get lost in a story. When it rains, it makes me want to read. When it's sunny, I want to sit in the sun and read. When I see big fluffy chairs, I think to myself, that would be an awesome reading chair.
Maybe it's me that has the problem. Do other people have "reading chairs"? Do they walk into book stores and libraries and feel the joy I feel? I just don't think I can be alone out there. And if it is a problem, how do I pass this problem on to kids who just want to text and tumble and play games on their phones?
Since posting this, I read this post that really took me back to those "good old days". We might have a discussion about where they used to like to read and maybe that will spark some nostalgia for them and lure them back to books.