Friday, June 1, 2012

Boys' Learning

At the start of the year, 3 boys in my class were pretty unmotivated by anything to do with literacy. They were all underachieving hugely and it seemed that a slide had already begun, one which many boys start to slip down when they are 8-9 years old. This seems the magical time when we have few opportunities left to inspire and foster in them a passion for learning through reading.

It's something that I am passionate about. I have watched many boys learn to loathe reading as it becomes a 'sore hand' activity when their teachers expect them to WRITE in response to everything that they read. They are forced to read guided texts that bore them on subjects that disinterest them, filled with weak characters and ones they cannot connect with. Research shows that boys need to make real connections to their lives while they are learning and that they thrive when their reading is nurtured through reading magazines, non-fiction and graphic novels or comics. They learn when there is quality oral reading all around them and when they control the choices for their personal reading.

So, from the beginning of the year, I took the boys to the reading room (where all of our resources are stored) and got them to pick 10 books of interest to them to take home. In the library sessions, I have helped to guide them towards books of high interest to them but also at a level that suits them. In writing, there has been a lot of support for them to ensure that they are planning their writing thoroughly as this was the process missing for them.

They are engaged and enjoying every moment of our class story, which they are busily reading along with (we are reading 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'). Quality literature as shared texts makes a wonderful time as a class for listening and experiencing texts at a higher level, as well as hearing how texts can sound (especially of you put on all of the dumb character voices like I do!!!)

In the past 5 months, they have shifted from being rather apathetic towards reading and writing to being the most enthusiastic 3 in the class! Today, we were working on the iMovies that we are creating based on the Julia Donaldson books such as The Gruffalo and The Snail and the Whale. These 3 boys were in my office practicing their expressive reading, working out how to make it sound better and planning how to put the movie together. They also hiked off to the reading room and were so enthused about choosing their books that I had to get them to stop taking books as they were all well in excess of 15! One of the boys is off on holiday away for a week and was discussing how cool it will be to read the books he has then!

And then, to put the icing on the cake, a notice came around to say that if anyone wants to write poems about Enviro Day next week then they need to take a notice home. All 3 were the first to grab a notice and then started talking animatedly about what their poem was going to be like!

The assessments and running records show excellent progress, well beyond expectation especially considering how much they were underachieving. I am thrilled to say that I firmly believe that these 3 boys are well on their way to being passionate readers and thrilling writers. Yippee!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! Sounds like you have such great results getting these three boys to read. Way to go.

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