Reading the Old-Fashioned Way

I’m working as a coach in a ninth grade class. The class is filled with students I know from elementary school. There is one boy who was an avid reader in 4th grade and has become the kind of reader who likes to distract everyone else during reading time.

He pretended like he had never collected his thinking about a book when his teacher conferred with him; however as a fourth grader, he was a student in one of the most effective Reading Workshops I have ever observed. He spent the entire year collecting his thinking on sticky notes and in his Reader’s Notebook. He engaged in book clubs and read a variety of texts.

Yet, four years later, he is a hinderance to the reading zone for many of his classmates. Earlier this week I conferred with him. He had picked up the first book in James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series.

“Oh! I read that over Christmas break. I have it on my iTouch,” I said when he showed me his book.

“What do you mean?”

“I downloaded the Kindle App for free and then Amazon had that book for free, so I put it on my iPod.”

“Really? That’s cool. Can I see it?”

“I left it in my car today, but tomorrow I can bring it in.”

The teaching point came around in the conference and we talked about ways he could make it possible for himself & others to enter the reading zone.

He read three chapters.

The next day I brought my iPod. After playing with the settings, I heard nothing from him for the rest of the time. I walked past his reading spot, concerned he may have fallen asleep. He didn’t. He did, however, read five chapters.

“Thanks,” he said, returning my iPod, “That’s cool. It’s easier to focus. I might put that on my iPod.”

He returned today and asked to read from my iPod. He had his book with him. “I read a few more chapters,” he told me. “I read faster on the iPod, though.” He took the iPod from me.

“You like it better on the iPod, then?”

“Yeah,” he settled into his reading spot, “But I kinda got into the book, so I went ahead and read it the old-fashioned way last night.”