Monday, February 01, 2010

Book Club

As you may know, Connor does not like school. I realize this isn't unusual- a lot of kids don't like school- but if you've been paying attention around here, you know that Connor tends to become hysterical when he doesn't like something. He isn't one to shrug it off and say, "Hey- what are you gonna do?" He is one to sob and hatch elaborate home-schooling plans and give me guilt trips about how not all moms have to work and if I loved him I would just STAY HOME AND PLAY WITH HIM.

One thing that might have made school more fun for him would have been getting him into the CLUE program early. I was told by Sassy that I should get him tested before Kindergarten, because the pre-school test doesn't have any reading requirements. I never got it together to get him tested, and he wasn't recommended by his Kindergarten teacher, so he isn't currently in CLUE. I asked his teacher if he could be tested, and she said sure, but warned me that kids need to be reading a couple of grade levels ahead of his peers in order to qualify. Now, Connor certainly isn't reading below grade level or anything, but so far he just hasn't shown a lot of interest in reading on his own. He still sees it as a bit of a chore, rather than something that can be done for pleasure.

I just used a lot of words to say that basically I wish Connor enjoyed both school and reading more than he currently does. At a recent elementary school awards program (Perfect Attendance? I thought I had taught him better than that!) I sat next to a friend who happens to be a first grade teacher and the parent of a first grader. I told her about how Connor hates it all, and she shared that her daughter LOVES school and loves to read. In fact, my friend recently started a book club for her students and her daughter loved the idea so much that she started her own book club with a couple of her classmates at Snowden. To which I said, Oh hell yes! An activity that will give him stronger social ties to school as well as peer pressure to enjoy reading! We would love to invite ourselves to that!

So we did. The next meeting was on a Sunday evening, and it just did not work out for Connor to go. It was the end of a busy weekend, and both kids were a little snotty and puny, and he was too exhausted to make the effot. I was surprisingly frustrated by this. I guess I knew I had been pushy about wrangling an invite and felt stupid not showing up. Plus I just really wanted him to go and enjoy himself and his book. But a wonderful thing happened. He decided to give the book a try on his own, and he DID love it! He read the book over breakfast, he read the book in the car, and by the end of the week he had read a chapter book all by himself and passed an AR test on it and ENJOYED IT. It was magical.

This week he actually attended the book club meeting in person. Four kids came, and they each took turns reading a chapter out loud. I didn't stay to witness this, but I was told that listening to them talk about the story, and help each other with unknown words, was absolutely adorable. Connor reported that it was a good book, and that the two girls were better readers than the two boys, and that he had a good time. And now I've got a son who carries a book around the house with him and smiles at new friends in the hallways at school. It's a start.

7 comments:

Stanfill said...

way to go connor!

Stan said...

awesome!

Stacey Greenberg said...

awesome!

i want to invite satchel to one of these. ;)

in fact, i think i'd like sassy to start one of these.

Dee said...

Yay Connor!!

Good idea, Stacey. My older two would love to join a kid book club. I am officially inviting myself. :)

Stephanie said...

It is pretty important that you only have a few kids, so that it doesn't get rowdy, and make sure they are at a similar reading level so that there isn't one kid who is bored, or one kid who is struggling to keep up.

RJA said...

Nerd.

Sassy Molassy said...

Yay books! Stacey, don't go getting all crazy on me just because I made some snowflakes with the kids.