Sunday, October 26, 2014

More on reading routines, and a dilemma

I wrote in a recent post about trying to get into a routine of reading and online math practice with my 7-year-old. I’m happy to report that once I figured out how to log on to the school-specific Dreambox site, my son has been perfectly happy to play with it. He requested Dreambox instead of a TV show a few times this weekend, so I think that’s a win.

The reading routine presented more of a dilemma the other night. It had been a busy day, and he hadn’t done his official 20 minutes of reading. Among the reasons he hadn’t: He’d been constructing his own Harry Potter fan fiction, writing several chapters in this new book, and telling me he’d probably need 800 pieces of paper from my printer paper stash. I think writing is a great way to get better at reading, but it doesn’t really fit on the homework log so well. I hadn’t pushed it until night when we realized he still hadn’t done it yet. I came into his room to tuck him in and check that he was reading. But he wasn’t...because he was constructing his own new language. He’d come up with names of numbers all the way to 120, and had created a worksheet labeling all them, and then started in on the shapes, which all have their own names too.

So the dilemma: tell him he needs to stop and read 20 minutes in a “real” book, or let him continue with this creative project that so fascinated him? What would you do?

10 comments:

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

I'd encourage the creative activity. Let him read his own writing. Encourage him to compare it to the writing of someone he admires (Rowling) and even try to copy their style. Ignore the log—it is busywork intended to kill a love of reading.

Calee said...

I lie to teachers all the time. In my mind, reading time is cumulative. If my daughter reads 3 hours of Harry on Saturday but doesn't get to it Monday, I still let her color in the pumpkin.

nicoleandmaggie said...

What Molly said. Probably sends the best message to talk with the teacher rather than forging or skipping, depending on the message you want to send.

Vera Gooch said...

My daughter might read three books in two days, I just sign the paper, I don't think she needs to read 20 minutes a night when she reads at other times, I think the point of the log is trying to get other kids that don't like to read to do so.

nicoleandmaggie said...

Molly was there when I commented, I swear.

Laura Vanderkam said...

I don't know where that post went! My kid has now picked up Eragon, which he seems to be enjoying, so it's not been an issue. Reading is briefly more interesting than writing his own book on the Top 10 Deadliest Sharks, so we'll just run with it for a while...

nicoleandmaggie said...

My kid recently discovered Rick Riordan, who apparently writes crack-- and he hasn't even started the Percy Jackson series yet. There's a lot of addicting YA/JR fiction out there!

C T said...

My kids go to a charter school geared towards serving the gifted. They got rid of reading logs this year, saying:
"*We expect all students to read at home continually. However, reading logs tend to be inappropriate and demotivating for gifted readers, and should only be used for specific students with a specific need to record personal reading time, or
as class goal for a limited period of time." http://www.academyacl.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/FAMILY-HANDBOOK-2014-15.pdf
No more lying to teachers. :)

Saharafrog said...

I always went with the spirit of the rule rather than the letter of the law on this one. My kid was reading so much almost everyday, I did not punish her for not hitting a certain threshold each day. Besides, you are less likely to develop a love of reading if it feels like a chore.

Anonymous said...

Reading logs are for other kids. The teacher does not care if my child reads 20 mins each night -- just that the child is reading throughout the week. I explained this to my daughter at the beginning of the year as she's an ardent rule follower. Fortunately, she agreed with my logic and she just jots down books she's been working on and I sign off without ever thinking about minimum reading times.