Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some thoughts on why some kids dislike reading.

As someone who really enjoys reading now that I'm not in school, I've been thinking back to why at certain times in my life I didn't like to are just a few thoughts on why adults seem very good at sucking the fun out of reading for children.

Real life examples!

*In first grade, I loved reading the books from the American Girls collection. During library time at school I asked the librarian if she had any. Her response? "Yes, I do, but those are for my third, fourth, and fifth graders." I wasn't allowed to read them because I was "too young." I'm not even sure I checked out a book that day, I was so disappointed.

*From grades 2-5 I absolutely loved The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley books. Yes, they were happy and corny and fluffy but they were my escape. I was told my one of my family members that they were "soft reading" and had little value. Yeah, maybe I wasn't learning tons of facts but I enjoyed reading them! Isn't that good enough?

*In 2nd grade, I wanted to do my book report on one of my all-time favorite books, Little Women. My teacher said absolutely not, it was much too grown-up of a book.

*In 4th grade, I had read many chapter books but still occasionally loved to look at the picture books from my earlier childhood. Who doesn't love picture books, seriously? I had to learn to shove them under the bed and pretend I was doing something else if someone walked into the room, because if they saw I would most definitely be asked "What are you reading that baby book for?"

*In the 5th grade, we had free choice reading, but only if the books were in our "reading level." Well, my reading level was quite high, and there were far fewer books available than the other levels. After I'd read the books in my level that interested me, I chose a book from the level below mine that I'd been wanting to read for awhile. It wasn't a picture book or anything, it was thick and had chapters. My teacher said "No, it's too low for you. You need to pick books in your reading level." When I told her that I'd read all the ones in my reading level that I liked, she told me to pick one of the ones I hadn't read because I might "learn to like them." Since I had no choice, I started doing that, and pretty much quit looking forward to reading time since the books that were left in my reading level held zero interest for me whatsoever.

*As a child, I had several books I loved to read, over and over and over again! Every time someone saw me reading a book I'd read before, they'd say something like "Awww, haven't you read that before? Why don't you pick a new book?" Well maybe because I didn't WANT to pick a new book! Favorite books are like your favorite comfort food, they never get old!

*In my college class, English 1020, instead of reading a novel and then writing about it and sharing our opinions in class, we would read two chapters a week and then beat them to death! We would dissect them down to the most miniscule details, while the instructor harped about meaning and symbolism and what the author was really trying to say. If there is any way to make a book far less enjoyable, this is it! I've heard some high school teachers do this as well. Luckily, they weren't mine or I would have never read as much as I did in high school!

Why do we do these things? Why do we suck the fun out of everything for children? Can someone please answer me this? We push that reading is wonderful and healthy and fun, yet we try to take all the enjoyment out of it.