I really don’t care what kids read. As long as they read something, they’ll gather information, enjoy subjects and learn. I was lucky that my son was a voracious reader…everything we fed to him he read. It did get tricky though as there’s not much on the market that is appropriate for a 6 yr old who’s already read The Hobbit!
My Daughter was another matter. She always liked to have books around – or maybe I just expected it – but never seemed to fully engage.
Anyway, I digress. When I was a School Governor the Deputy head asked if I would like to be involved with a Literacy Programme with kids who really struggled with reading. This involved one to one sessions every day for 10 minutes going through a set programme. I had around 6 pupils that I was involved in for about 2 years altogether. It was great to see these yr 4,5 and 6s gain a little confidence.
One of the boys – and it was mostly boys- I had known since Reception. He was in the same year as my Daughter. He was polite and sweet and really had very little confidence in reading at all. One day when we had done the exercises I asked him what he liked to do. He said they’d been to the pictures and seen The Cat in The Hat and he’d thought it was funny. Now, I’d taken my kids to see that film and was thoroughly disappointed with it, but it did make me have an idea. The next day I brought my copy of the Dr Seuss book into the classroom. I explained that it wasn’t the school’s book, it was mine, but if he thought it was good, I’d allow him to borrow it. Now Dr Seuss is maybe not what a 10 yr old boy would pick, it is maybe a bit young, but he started reading it and realised that he really could properly read it and that it was silly and funny and it rhymed and we giggled our way through part of the book. He was very keen to keep hold of it and I said he would have to take care of it but I would allow him to borrow it. I think it must have been the Weekend from what I remember because the next morning we were in the playground this young man’s mother literally threw her arms around me in the playground and said Thank you! He’d come home from school and was so fired up that he had wanted to read to his younger brother and they had giggled through it together. Then he realised he would have to give this book up so he asked if they could go shopping and get his own copy. He had never asked to buy a book before. She was ecstatic.
Whilst I know that he still struggled through his school life, this little story still makes me smile. Sometimes it is just about finding that little spark.
N.B. It was while I was doing the exercises with these kids that I realised that my daughter had reading struggles too and she was diagnosed with Dyslexia.