Just Let Her Read

One of our weekend routines my peanut and I have is that each Saturday we go to the library to get new books.  We both love the library and here in #yeg I cannot speak enough about the amazing libraries we do have.  Quite often peanut and I will actually drive around to check out new libraries that are not even in our neighborhood just to see what they are like. Most times we will go to the library and both of us will go and find new books that we are going to look at over the week.  I keep an eye on her from my section as she goes about picking her books.  However, it would be today that I would change that routine and got a shock that really hit me hard.  Peanut went straight to a section and started methodically going through the books.  Whether this was something new because I had not been watching her recently when she did pick her books I did not know, so I stopped and asked her what she was doing.  She looked at me and said, “I am looking for books at my level, Mommy.” Honestly this statement almost made me cry.  For those that know me, I am passionate about making reading accessible and interesting to all my students.  I have a multitude of book bins in my room, I have my kids speed date books, we do 1 min recommendations, I do book talks, read alouds.  I constantly am going to the book store, garage sales, online to find books that I hope my students will find interesting and pick up and read.  Something I have never done is level my books because I don’t believe in it, I will say that I have a serious dislike for leveling books, so hearing my daughter share that she was looking for books this way broke my heart. Being the “mom of the year” that I am I decided it was important right then and there to push my agenda on her.  My poor little 6 year old peanut had to listen to me go on and on about wouldn’t it be better if she picked a book that interested her or that she wanted to know more about.  I tried to explain to her that reading level I books was great, but I would like her to find books that she wanted to read. Basically I tried to get her to read the way I thought she should be reading.  The response was my poor peanut didn’t know what to do.  At school, the teachers she loved and admired gave her books that came in bins, this was what she was used to and comfortable with.  Now her mommy that she wanted her to do something totally different.  So then she looked and me and said, “I don’t want to get any books today mommy.”  When I asked her why not, she told me she didn’t know how to pick a book now.  Should she get a book her level like she always did (and I had never noticed) or should she get a book like the way her mommy wanted her to. It was just easiest to not get a book at all in her eyes. I will not lie, I felt about a foot tall. Who was I to push my agenda on her?  The bottom line was up to this point she loved to read, every time we went to the library she picked out her books and read them.  At the end of the day, wasn’t that the point. She was reading and growing in her reading, so who was I to tell her how to pick her books out. I ended up telling her mommy wanted her to get whatever books she wanted, whatever way she wanted, what would make me happy would be to see her reading any books she wanted.  So she did pick out her 3 books and when we got outside, she asked if we could sit in the sunshine so she could read her new book. And that was the part I needed to realize was the most important, she loves reading and loves books, so I should be happy with that and just let her read.

Enjoying her book in the sunshine

Enjoying her book in the sunshine

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4 thoughts on “Just Let Her Read

  1. Jennifer

    Absolutely agree! Our district uses accelerated reader…I’m that teachers who let’s students test on books not on level (the whole idea of testing on every book really bothers me)…my sons teacher however is not. I was so excited and happy for him when he decided to venture into the world of chapter books, Stink books were his favorite…but some of the books in the series were below his level. I assured him it was okay if he didn’t meet his goal as long as he was reading and enjoying it…why can’t we just celebrate person growth and love of reading?

    Reply
    1. catherined2014 Post author

      Thank you so much for your comment. I think in this world of standardized testing, we are all so worried kids are not going to do well so we do things like level their books so they hit those targets that supposedly are needed. Hoping someday more are like us and realize it’s when we promote a love of reading that students will grow.

      Reply
  2. kwhobbes

    I often wonder if we are holding students back by labelling everything they do. I understand the idea and the concept behind it but, like your daughter, our sons read and read. Our 3rd son was excited as he moved up from level to level, which is great but he also wasn’t going to read a book because it wasn’t in his level. My wife convinced him that it was okay, it was summer so he could read whatever level he wanted. Ultimately, like you, I want my sons to read and enjoy it, to expand and explore and enjoy! Thanks for sharing. Sometimes it’s hard to know what exactly to do at times. The best I can figure out is that there is no manual and things are constantly changing. Learning to enjoy and cherish the time with our children is an amazing gift for us and them. Enjoy the sun and the books!

    Reply
    1. catherined2014 Post author

      Much like you, I get what the teacher is trying to do. It’s just we have differing philosophies when it comes to reading and my poor peanut got caught in the middle. Hoping to enoucrage her as she gets older to pick books she loves and enjoys, help her develop this type of reading. Somemdays the parent – teacher roles get challenging that is for sure.

      Reply

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