Mrs. Lafreniere and Mrs. Hawkins, Proud Reading Teachers of NSES

I subscribe to several teaching related blogs and the one I read this morning (and included below) reminded me what we need to do for our reluctant readers every day. Although it may be frustrating to constantly push reluctant readers to read, it is something we need to do and do cheerfully, consistently, and tenaciously.  It’s exactly what they need from us.

Practiced Avoidance 

by Lori Sabo

You are going to judge me and you will be completely justified in doing so.

I have a shoulder impingement injury. I have been assigned stretches and exercises, which if practiced daily will lessen the pain and bring back my range of movement, yet I don’t do them. They aren’t very hard. They don’t even take very long. I don’t have a single good reason for avoiding them.

How is it better to live with stabs of pain so intense that I go from being a normal woman to one with circling cartoon stars of pain above my head? How is it better to live for months, careful not to make movements that cause mind-numbing, nearly faint-inducing pain? It isn’t. I get it. It isn’t.

All of you with healthy bodies are thinking, That doesn’t make sense. Just do the moves and get better. And you are right. See, I knew you’d judge me.

But until one of my loved ones steps in to hold me accountable, or until I decide that I am tired of the complete lack of improvement, the stretchy purple band and illustrated list of moves collects dust while I practice avoidance.

So now I know.

Now I know and can relate to that special brand of reluctant reader who wants to be proficient, but doesn’t read. They have what they need in their book boxes, but avoid engaging with text. They are given time to practice, but don’t use it. It doesn’t make any sense. And time after time, they shrug and say they don’t know why they don’t read, they just don’t.

But being a nonreader is a pain inducing experience we can’t allow. So until our reluctant readers become voracious and independent readers, we must assess accurately, instruct wisely, support and scaffold brilliantly, check in with daily, cheer on optimistically, and tenaciously impart the message that reading is a superpower they must have for themselves. No judgment, just understanding and the message that they are too important to let slip through the cracks

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