Saturday, June 14, 2014

Getting a Boy to Write, and Read

Sean is not a kid who will typically choose to write. For most of this school year he has been apathetic about reading and writing. He has started some writing projects, and abandoned them. He will do a journal entry if I suggest it, and he will write poetry without my prompting, but story writing isn't usually on his work plan.

Sometimes I can come up with something that will get him excited about writing. Recently I started him on The Nightmare Room, a writing program by R.L. Stine.

In the past he has read some of R.L. Stine's books, and he does enjoy them. When I mentioned that R.L. Stine had a program to help students with writing, he got excited.

(I downloaded it here, in case you are interested.)

To get him to read, well, I've tried and tried. It's hit and miss, and he hasn't read an entire book all year. He reads factual books, about airplanes, or how things work, or about spiders and animals, but I don't think he has ever read to the last page.

I've worried about it and tried to think of ways to encourage him, but nothing seemed to be working. I don't use rewards and punishments because I don't want him to do things for the reward, I want him to do it because of the reward he feels by accomplishing the task, or learning the material. And in the case of books, I want him to enjoy the journey a book can provide.

I started telling him he could choose absolutely anything, a comic book, a magazine, it didn't matter.

But a couple of days ago I woke him up to get ready for the day, and when I went back in his room to check on the progress, he was in bed reading a book.

I didn't say a word about the book, but he told me he had decided to take it easy that day and would be out in a little while. I walked out of his room smiling to myself, knowing that once again he had come to something on his own. And just as he has done in the past with other works and learning, I imagine he will take hold of reading and go for as long as he needs to, and come back to it again when it is time.

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