Sunday, February 21, 2016

Public Schools Work: I'm A Reader Now

Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher Eileen Doherty shared this story about a success in her classroom.
My goal as a reading teacher is always to try and get my nonreaders or reluctant readers to fall in love with reading, or at least find some joy in reading. I noticed that one of my reluctant readers was actually reading (and willingly writing) over the last few days.

I wasn't sure if I should say anything to this student about it, but I finally said at dismissal, "So I noticed that you have been reading and writing a lot this week. Any particular reason?"

This student replied, "Yes. I'm a reader now. I actually like it."

When I finally had time that evening to reflect on my student's statement, I tried to figure out what it was that I had done that led to a desire and willingness to read and write. It wasn't some specific teaching strategy or technique that I used. I believe it began with the positive relationship that I had developed with my student. It was getting to know my student well enough to understand just the right words to say and just the right books to suggest. It was relying on and trusting my own past experiences with reluctant readers and writers to know that changing a student's attitude takes an unspecified amount of time. Patience and persistence. I just had to keep repeating positive words of encouragement, keep listening to my student, and keep trying every single day. And sometimes, I get lucky enough to witness a student's success and positive change while he or she is still my student.

These are the moments that keep me returning to the classroom year after year. This is just one example and one student. There are many more moments and successes happening in our schools right now!

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