Archive for December 9th, 2014

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

I’m sure there must be one in every classroom, right? The nonreader. The one who pretends he has it all together. The one who keeps the same book for weeks traveling to and from home.

I am having a hard time writing about this. I’ve already gotten up twice to make tea, to eat a cookie. My heart wants to talk to you, but my head is not sure how.

I made a student cry last week. I don’t like to make students cry. This one came about unexpectedly. I asked Mitch (name changed), a 6th grader, about his reader response post. He explained that his post about “The Elf on the Shelf” was his reader response. I thought it was his Slice of Life story. I said, “We need to talk about your book selections.” His face turned red. His eyes welled up. We moved out to the hallway.


I want to honor free choice. A few weeks ago, I allowed him to read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” But even then I said, “OK, but next time you need to pick a book on your level.”

“I’m just not much of a reader,” Mitch told me, “I’d rather play outside.” We talked about ways he could work reading into his nighttime routine. When we returned to the classroom, my other students rallied around him with book choices.

Most of my gifted students are avid readers. I gave up the nightly log last year when it became burdensome for both me and my students. Every day we have discussions around books we are reading. This student, however, has not caught the wild reader fever. Quite the opposite. He is a closet nonreader. Now we all know, and he felt the chastisement. I’m not sure if things will change very quickly. Mitch has to find the right book. He will flourish only when he is understood and accepted. So how do I make him excited about reading, honor his choices, and advance his reading skills? Please give me your advice in the comments.

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