Monday, March 18, 2013

It's Monday! What are You Reading? AND Slice of Life

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are challenging ourselves to write a Slice A Day.
I’m joining Jen & Kellee (and many other bloggers) in discussing what we are reading this week. Join us! Go to their site and link up your own blog.

Doing a post mash-up here today. I’ve neglected my It’s Monday posts for a few weeks – and although I didn’t read a ton, I wanted to at least include the books I have read of late.

Bud, Not Buddy was for the Newbery challenge. I can’t believe I’ve never read it.
Hold Fast is absolutely beautiful and an important book that talks about the homeless. Everyone should read it.
Last Laughs is hilarious – my students passed it around on Friday.
Hokey Pokey is strange. I was confused forever in the beginning. Then less so, then confused again at the end. A fascinating book with some beautiful language. I am stumped on what kid I could give this one to. I haven’t given it any stars, yet, because I’m still debating how many to give.

As I was thinking about what I read last week, my thoughts turned to Jen’s blog from yesterday (HERE). She was exploring Gladwell’s line of thinking that you need 10,000 hours of practice to become a master at something. Jen pointed out that in terms of reading – 10,000 hours in 10 years you would need to read 2.74 hours a day. WOW!

2.74 hours a day. On average – I’d be around 2. But I’ve had years to build up my number. Where would my students be? The frustrating part of teaching is that I can see this – every year my top readers are the kids that read the most. My lowest readers are the ones that never read. Yet their parents still want them to be successful in school, successful in life. I’ve tried to explain – being a reader is like a magic ticket. It can take you anywhere. And then a student will come in, tell me they couldn’t read last night. Baseball practice. (Or gymnastics, cheer, football, what have you.)

It’s hard fighting this battle. I give so little homework; my entire team does, so that there would be no excuses. The kids need to read. We make it easy – you can read anything you want – freedom! Just read. And the majority do. I look at the amount of books that my students have flown through this year. It is amazing - more than almost any other class. But I still think about that handful- the ones that don’t grow as much as the others, the ones that abandon books more, the ones that read a lot at school, but not at home. Those are the kids I think about at night. How can I hook them? What do I need to do differently? I know what they need to do – read.

As a parent I try and ensure that my own children become readers. I know that just because you are born to a reader doesn’t mean you will become one. So, I teach the same habits at home that I do at school. I make sure our house is full of books. I talk about what I’m reading and what I recommend all the time. And I make them read. Both of the boys have a certain amount of time each day that they need to read. No questions. If they want extra time playing video games, they can earn it by reading more. And some weeks I’d say they are big readers, some they read less. On average – they still read more than most.

I think I will be pondering Gladwell’s idea of 10,000 hours for quite awhile. Thanks, Jen, for a great post. I will certainly be sharing it with my students so we can talk about it. In my own life – I wonder if I will feel like I have a better handle on writing after 10,000 hours. I know that anytime I do something for an extended period – I improve. That is exactly what I learned last March during the Slice of Life. 10,000 hours? Sounds perfect to me.