Monday, March 28, 2011

Dear Reading Teachers, Please stop destroying the love of Reading

My son began reading extremely early. He taught himself and went on to love reading. He couldn't get enough. We'd pick up a stack of books at the library and he'd eagerly work his way through them within a few days.

Today he hates reading. You know why? Every year, he's given a Reading Log to fill out. A log would be okay by itself. (Even though we'd fudge those over the years, because we couldn't keep track of every single minute he picked up a book.) But this year - it's really gotten to the breaking point. Not only does he have a reading log, where every page number must be logged to count towards a goal. But in addition, he must read 20 books this year from different genres. Plus, for all 20 he must fill out the same generic two page book report.

He's in 6th grade. This is in addition to books they read as a class, and in addition to other books he has projects attached too. So, you can see why he now "hates" reading. He's being forced to read. Again, he's in 6th grade. Do you realize how much more reading he has ahead of him and the love of reading has already been stomped out of him? For a boy who taught himself to read and read voraciously - by his own choice, this is really sad.

Teachers, I beg of you. Please stop doing this. My son isn't the only one who has had this happen to him. As a librarian, I've heard lots of mothers complaining about mandatory "reading logs" that make all of this additional "busy work" arduous for students. I understand that some students need the practice, but many do not. Could we possible cut down on the number of pages, while allowing for more quality in meaningful projects?

If it's this difficult for students who came into it loving reading, I wonder about those kids who really have a difficult time reading. They must be really overwhelmed. Or maybe they've just given up.