I was encouraged by “A (Reluctant) Reader’s Bill of Rights. I’ve shared some of these with my students this week. As I typically encourage my students to keep reading their novels for their quarterly book reflection, I always try to engage students in book discussions. This week, a boy (a somewhat reluctant reader) asked if he could change books. I emphatically said “YES!” I asked him a number of questions and ultimately I said,” Do you have book that you actually remember liking?” He told me he did remember a book from a couple of years ago. He was able to remember the name of the book, so I Googled it (what did we do before Google?) and sure enough, we found the book. I had him come over to my desk to verify that it was, indeed, the book that he had enjoyed. He repsonded in the affirmative. I told him that we could check the library to see if we had any books by that author and that he might like others books by the same author, if he liked that one. We checked the online system and sure enough, we had a couple books by that author. Class was over so I told him if he wanted to come in during his study hall (my prep period), we’d go to the library and I’d show him how to find those books in the library. Well, our library had more on the shelves than they showed in the system. He chose one and I haven’t heard a negative groan since!
If I hadn’t said it was okay to change books, we might not had discovered a bunch of books that he might enjoy. In addition, it showed him there were ways to search for books he might like other than standing and staring at huge bookshelves. I consider it a huge win!
I have students reading graphic novels, gun manuals, etc. At this point, I don’t care what it is (within reason, I suppose), I just want them reading!
The Reader’s Bill of Rights gives us the power to not read, to skip pagess, to not finish, to reread, to read anything, to read anywhere, to browse books, to read out loud, and to not defend our tastes. Those Rights give students some power back that they often feel is lacking in the school environment.