How to get kids to not hate reading?

Discussion in 'High School' started by mikemack42, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Feb 16, 2012

    I just gave my 9th grade students their books to read today. They have a choice of three books, two of which are fairly easy by 9th grade standards and one of which is difficult. I gave them a class in the library today to choose the book they wanted, and we previously did a class where they saw blurbs about the book and did some background investigation.
    Some students seem up for reading, but many told me they hate reading. How do you recommend addressing those kinds of attitudes? Keep in mind this is a class (and a year group) that is generally very difficult to motivate, and seems to take pride in being sort of the bad group.
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Feb 17, 2012

    I'm afraid that's a problem that's going to keep getting worse. As the years go by, I find my students are less and less interested in reading. Part of it, as Kelly Gallagher points out in his book Readicide (which I highly recommend) is that we mandate what they read and then analyze it to death. With my low-level seniors, I was lucky enough to have small sets of several books with activity packets for each, so they had a bit more choice and are working fairly independently. When I'm teaching a whole-class novel, even with my college prep kids, I like to do some kind of introductory activity that helps them see WHY we're reading this particular text--something that will pique their interest.
     
  4. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Feb 17, 2012

    Thanks Mrs. K Today I asked them as a starter where they'd put their interest in reading on a scale of 1-10, 1 being really dislike and 10 being really like. A couple of the girls in the class took it upon themselves to write students' answers on the board and lead the discussion. Turned out pretty well. I haven't gotten into why they're reading the books, though they did do some background investigation. I'll get into the why on Monday. I think, based on today, this will go better than I expected.
     
  5. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Feb 17, 2012

    When I implemented readers workshop when I taught fifth, I noticed interest in reading improved as the year went on. These kids grew up having to read those "lovely" stories in their basal reading programs. The school also pushed AR, but I find that there is no intrinsic motivation to read. They read for the points and the rewards those points offered. When I got those kids in fifth, I NEVER pushed my kids to do AR (and no one even asked or bothered to), they just read what they wanted to. And then they shared their reading. No analyzing to death.

    I teach an afterschool program and I have students who DO NOT like to read. Some say that reading is at least better than homework, but they still hate it. These are 3-5th graders. I do not have the resources or the time, though, to set up a library like I did when I taught fifth. :(
     
  6. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    Mar 31, 2012

    A lot of kids say "I hate reading" when what they really mean is "I struggle to read". Check their reading skills. Some may need remediation.

    How great that you got the class involved in a discussion. Sounds like a plan that will work well for this group.
     
  7. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Mar 31, 2012

    I'm with Mrs. K - they complained all day when we read a novel in class and had to analyze it to death. This year, we just read the novel. Questions at the end of chapters, yes; some discussion in class; but really just reading. They liked it much better and have asked when we're doing another book.
     
  8. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Mar 31, 2012

    I think it's great to get the students involved in a discussion. I am always surprised when my professors acknowledge an issue like that; usually it seems like they know but just don't care. My English professor turned literary analysis into a fun in-class activity by prompting us to come up with crazy overreadings of Northanger Abbey. It was fun and allowed us to have a discussion about the issue with the professor at our level.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 31, 2012

    Silmarienne's got a good point too. mikemack42, if you don't already know Cris Tovani's I Read It, but I Just Don't Get It, let me recommend it highly for its treatment of process issues in middle-school reading.

    (This would be in your *cough snort* Copious Free Time, of course.)
     
  10. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Mar 31, 2012

    Good timing on that recommendation TeacherGroupie, I'm just on Easter break now and was going to get a little professional reading done. It didn't really work, the reading with the 9th graders. Well, they did do decent presentations about their books, but I have a feeling they might have just looked at the online summaries for those (when I asked the kids to give feedback on their classmates' presentations, I got a lot of ¨Well, Student X obviously read the book, because...." I thought if they keep insisting they read the book, maybe that means they didn't).

    Don't know, this class tends to be so unmotivated and disinterested (there's only 20 of them in class, and 11 of them are "on report", meaning they failed two or more subjects in the past trimester. Though to be fair, they have 13 classes, which seems insane to me). Really haven't figured out how to break through the indifference, though they did take the presentations seriously and were a great audience for each other. They are usually very supportive of each other, there must be some way to use that for good, right?
     
  11. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Mar 31, 2012

    I think it's great we got a student posting here. What do you mean by crazy overreadings? Can you explain that more?
     
  12. Red Apple

    Red Apple Rookie

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    Apr 3, 2012

    Perhaps giving them greater options instead of a limited list. This way they have more to choose from.
     

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