special education (3)

Let Them Read!

Children become confident readers by becoming comfortable with what they are reading. For some kids this happens early in their school careers. For others, it takes more time. Confidence comes before good reading. If the material a child is allowed to read is censured then we may be limiting the joy a child finds in reading and it's possible they may never become a joyful reader. I had a teacher ask me last year if he should let a non reader-a student who didn’t like to read-do a book report using the child’s choice of books - “Captain Underpants.” I resoundingly said yes.Children should not be reading adult material but there is absolutely nothing wrong with Captain Underpants, comic books or any book a child picks up and takes a joy in reading!My 16 year old daughter began reading for pleasure when she discovered the Captain Underpants books. I was so happy I bought every book in the series. After Captain Underpants she moved on to R. L. Stine. I think she was trying to drive me crazy, but none the less, we built our library of R.L. Stine. When her teacher told her she couldn’t read R. L. Stine…well, you don’t want to hear that parent teacher conversation. My daughter’s favorite author is now Maya Angelou. If a child wants to read, let them read whatever they like as long as it’s not illegal!A child reads books they are capable of reading. No one wants to read a grade level book more than a child does. Peer pressure exists even in the library. I've had many students over the years walking around with a book that they couldn't read, but it was socially acceptable. One little boy would sit and appear to be reading just so he fit in. When he came to my room, he'd take a deep breath, put the book down and get a book he could actually read. In my room he could read for pleasure without fear of being judged by his peers. Eventually this young man was able to read the books he really wanted to. It just took him a little extra time.I couldn’t have been happier than when one of my fourth grade students, hearing impaired, with a learning disability, and English as a Second Language Learner, came to me and asked to read me a book. She’d been reading this book on her own every chance she got and I noticed she’d been keeping it in her desk in my room. We sat, me in my teacher chair, her in the blue student chair, and she read “Go Dog Go,” by Dr. Seuss. When she was done she looked up at me with such happiness and pride in her face. I could have cried. I gave her the biggest hug and she hugged me back even harder. She excitedly took the book back to her general education classroom to read again to her classroom teacher.Confidence is what it takes to be a good reader. If a child doesn’t like to read, open up their possibilities. Make the books they read their choice. Then, don’t make any judgments. Just let them read.
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Children and Worry

Using books to deal with children's emotions and problems is a wonderful teaching tool. Books are also a fantastic way to open the classroom for discussion on topics that have meaning for every student. Some of the best writing can come from classroom discussions and the emotions that come from these discussions. Worry is a feeling that is universal. Big Universe.
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