“I hate reading,” she huffed.
At that moment I backed away, sure that the literary gods would strike her with a bolt of lightning. How could she, the daughter of a writer, even think such a thing let alone announce it to the world? Even more pressing: What do I do about this problem? Do I wash her mouth out with Shakespeare? Do I give her a healthy dose of Harry Potter and hope that cures her?
Once I had calmed down, I got to thinking about her comment. It just didn’t make sense. How could this child hate reading? Over the summer, she read all of the Bella Sara books. She then moved on to the Magic Puppy, Magic Kitten, and Magic Pony series. She also took her sweet time and got about half way through my copy of Twilight. Just before school started, she was beginning the Little House Books. If something sparked her interest on television, she’d ask me to Google it so she could read more about it.
Then it hit me. School. When school started, she had to put away her “fun reads” and go back to reading the “approved” (under twenty pages) books each night. Suddenly reading was a chore. She was forced to read books that held no interest to her whatsoever and were far below her reading level. The school system’s plan to improve reading “levels” is destroying my daughter’s love of books and that is a crime worse than not teaching her at all.
While I am all for kids reading more, this, at least for my child, is not the way to do it. Somehow, the school system got sidetracked with “test scores” and forgot to show kids that reading could be fun.
So, tomorrow I go in for my parent/teacher conference and again, she will quote test scores and levels. When I again mention this change in my daughter, she’ll tell me that her test scores are all “on level”. Whatever. I’m not drinking your kool-aid. This newfound hate of reading is a major problem.
I would love any suggestions or comments. How would you improve the school system? How would you repair the literary damage they have done?