Words I never imagined I would hear from one of my kids. I grew up loving to read ... devoured books. I was the kid that hid under the covers with a flashlight and a book after lights out. I couldn't begin to understand why someone wouldn't want to read when given the chance. Yet here was one of my own saying those very words ...
These thoughts ran through my mind again the other day as I read an interesting article on why some kids do not enjoy reading. In the article, Frank Cottrell Boyce shares his concern that we are killing the joy of reading by expecting too much analysis and feedback each time a child reads a book. I don't know that this was my child's issue with reading, but the author of the article makes a good point.
Time and time again I come across teachers reading a story and then asking immediately for some kind of feedback. A piece of ‘creative writing’ ‘inspired by’ the story. Some opinions about character and wow words. Something to show the parents or the school inspectors.
I do think there is value in discussion and interaction with what a student is reading. Lots of learning goes on when you talk about or write about a story. Much of Sonlight's program is based on reading with discussion. However, there is also much to be said about reading purely for the joy of it.
Pleasure in reading, Cottrell Boyce will say, is deeply important. “Pleasure is a profound and potent form of attention, a kind of slow thinking."
I think it is legitimate to say that not every book scheduled in Sonlight's Instructor's Guide needs to be discussed or written about. Discussion and comprehension questions are provided, writing assignments are listed ... but now and again I don't believe it's a bad idea to let a student enjoy a book simply for the sake of reading for pleasure. Let them devour and savor each page purely for the pleasure of becoming engrossed in the story.
As the holidays approach and you're wondering what to get your kids for Christmas ... let me encourage you to fill their lives with wonderful books. Not books for school ... but adventures and journeys to be taken between the covers of a book.
Still on the journey ...