This means I teach middle school students for whom reading is difficult. The level of difficulty varies wildly between my classes and also between individual students within my classes. But most of my students wouldn't rate reading as a preferred activity. Truly, who likes to do something that is really hard? It doesn't feel good to not be successful.
A lot of what I try to do in my class is get students excited about reading. Doing hard things is good for your brain! It helps you grow! Books are windows! Books are an escape! Etc etc etc.
Since Friday was a "snow" day, our school's Booktopia Read Across America Day celebration got pushed to tomorrow. I decided to celebrate Read Across America day in my classes today with a longer-than-usual read aloud time.
I'm currently reading Dear Martin by Nic Stone out loud to my 8th grade class. It gets a little awkward at times because it has a lot of edgy YA content, along with tough issues about race and police brutality, but the tough moments are worth the payoff- it's one of several books I've read with this group of 8th graders that has them hooked. This morning, however, when I said I was going to celebrate Read Across America Day by reading aloud for longer than usual, my students groaned.
"WHAT?! You guys have been loving this book! What's going on?"
They were silent.
One brave soul spoke up, "Well, Mrs. B, it's just that... I was hoping to have some time to read Odd One Out."
"Yeah, and I'm just getting to a good part in My Family Divided..." another student chimed in.
I tried not to let myself look too excited. "So you mean, you want to celebrate Read Across America Day with a longer-than-usual SILENT INDEPENDENT READING TIME?!"
"Yeah!" They cheered.
Teaching struggling readers can be emotionally draining, but this morning's cheer for time to read... that felt like a big win.
Happy Read Across America Day!