Skip to content

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.”



Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

5 thoughts on “Reading the Old-Fashioned Way Leave a comment

  1. Ruth,

    At a recent technology conference a guest speaker from England said that when they were surveying students about different forms of technology they weren’t sure what email was, but then one of the kids said, “Isn’t that what your dad does?” We all laughed about how emailing is quickly going to become seen as something that is a little bit out of date with all the other forms of communication now.

    I am excited that your student liked to read on the iTouch. Our school is going to be getting iTouches for each students. Staff already received touches to experiment with before we roll them out in the classrooms. I noticed that the Kindle App was available, but I wasn’t sure if it would be big enough to read on. I wanted to experiment with it but have not had a chance. With your post, I am excited about the possibilities!


  2. I find that fascinating and it renews my hope that we will get kids reading again if we embrace the technology that they are growing up with and find second nature.


%d bloggers like this: