Today I worked closely with a reader who was trying to choose a book. When I approached him, I sensed that he was somewhat reluctant. He struck me as the kind of child who would spend his entire reading time choosing a book if it meant he could avoid actually reading. My instinct was to take the “Hurry up, get a book, get back to your seat, and get busy reading approach.”
Then it occurred to me.
Reluctant readers very often don’t know what to choose because they don’t know what’s out there. Sure, I could rush Billy, but to what end? What will I have taught him about book choice? About stamina? About good readership?
So, I decided to invest the time to carefully guide Billy’s book choice. We scoured the classroom library together. As we thumbed through books, I told him about titles and authors that we encountered, eliminating things that weren’t of interest as we went along. Before long, we had narrowed his choices down to a small stack of possibilities.
As it turned out, Billy did avoid the entire reading period making his book selection. However, he now has a book he is excited about reading. In fact, he chose two books that he is excited about reading. Had I hurried him, he might have chosen something to placate me and I’d be happy for now, but he wouldn’t. And he’d be back in the classroom library tomorrow.