Thursday, July 19, 2012

What I Learn from my Children

After a busy morning with swimming and tennis, we decided to head over to the public library to meet some friends. My two sons, Aidan and Tyler, are nearly nine and six. To me, those ages sound way older than eight and five, but they are getting older and wiser whether I like it or not. As we entered the children's section, I noticed Aidan going straight towards the Star Wars books and Tyler going straight towards the Super Hero books. Truth be told, I would rather have Aidan going towards the chapter books without pictures, since he is perfectly capable of reading them. In addition, it would be nice if Tyler chose books that were beginning readers with phonics, repetition, and sight words galore.


What I learned (and need to be comfortable with) is they went straight for what INTERESTED them. It reminded me that it is okay to let our students read painless books (Aidan's choices) or challenge books (Tyler's choices) because they are motivated to read them! It is more important to me to hook a reader on a series of books or genre of books that may be too easy if it is getting them in the habit of reading daily. Reading painless books builds fluency and understanding of simple story structure. Likewise, if a student - like my Tyler - has background knowledge on a particular topic, chances are that student will be able to tackle a more difficult text based on their familiarity with the vocabulary of that topic. Tyler knew how to pronouce some of the characters' names that I didn't even know! The boys sat and read book after book after book today with no arguments whatsoever.

So they were not "appropriate leveled books" for my little readers...the point is: they enjoyed reading these books of their choice!

Besides, I couldn't tell you the last time I picked up a book to read based on my level. I choose to read based on what interests me, what kind of genre I am in the mood for, favorite authors, recommendations from friends, and a million other reasons other than it is on my level.

Thank you, Aidan and Tyler, for reminding me it is okay for my students to read books of their choice!

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