Tuesday, I saw all of my rowdy 5th and 6th grade boys were dead to the world and could barely hold their heads up. One finally fessed up that their soccer coach made them run a lot the night before. “But we can still read,” he said smirking.
I took stock for a moment. I remembered months ago, how risky and vulnerable it felt sitting with each reluctant reader one-on-one and letting them tell me they don’t like reading. I didn’t judge but reassured them that this is normal, saying confidently, “When you are ready, you’ll get there.”
I started with i-1 as Dr. Mason recommends -starting off with easy books that would make them feel confident. I followed Dr. Krashen’s suggestion that “Less is more; do less than you think they can handle. If you think students can sit and read for 15 minutes, do 10 minutes” (9).
Little by little, we flexed our reading muscles. We kept on picking up one book, putting it down, trying another. Our journey was time-consuming and didn’t reap instant results. But this week, it was all worth it. Even when things happen that are out of their control, they have genuine life-long habits and reading stamina.