Monday, August 2, 2010
Spend the Night Pillow Talk
Conversation between my son and two friends, brothers, he had over to spend the night:
"At my school you can't read books if you don't have the right lexile level."
"Yea, I wanted to read The Lightning Thief but my teacher said, 'Oh no, you don't have the lexile level, so you can't read it now.'"
"Oh yeah, Percy Jackson was 10 pts. more than my lexile and she said that another boy read it and didn't understand it, so she said I shouldn't read it." I was reaching for the book and then she smacked my hand away!
What? I thought, can teachers do that? Do teachers do that?
* * *
"One kid got expelled. He kept saying bad word, so he got kicked out!"
"But my teacher is sooo strict, but all the teachers are so nice except Mrs. Crabtree"
"No, Mrs. Crabtree is nice."
"Ok maybe she is is."
"What's your lexile score?"
"1080, what's yours?"
And the conversation continued through lexile scores (one said he was over 1000 and reading at a high school level) and what books each liked. One of the boys asked the others what types of books he liked. They talked about adventure books (Hunger Games) and myth-type books (Riordan's new Red Pyramid). I kept thinking how the boys' conversation mirrored that of my own book club.
I wished I'd recorded the conversation but when I went to plug my iTalk adapter into the iPod, the iPod battery was spent, so I took notes. Do you limit students reading? Why? How?
When I went in to remind the boys it was time for bed they had the lexile conversation with me. I said to them that lots of time interest in a book can overcome difficulty. If a student is interested and motivated to read a book then they will reach for it and make it work for them. I said that if their teacher wouldn't let them read it, they read it at home. Not the best advice I'm sure, but I'm learning. I wish their teacher had the same opinion. We need to support students where they are but we need not be gate-keepers. That's what I think.