Fourteen years into my teaching career and Literacy has always been my primary love. Teaching little people to read and write and seeing the world of books from new eyes brings me an immense amount of joy. I have spent many hours discussing how to get students who are reluctant readers and writers to be engaged. I have given ideas and activities to encourage parents who are at their wits end.
This year I’ve met my match.He’s an incredibly bright little boy who reads above grade level, his oral comprehension and imagination are exceptional. Getting him to write however, is like pulling teeth. He comes up with every excuse in the book and truth be told our writing sessions are looking more and more like wrestling matches.As irony would have it, this little boy also happens to be my son.
So this past year I have been on a mission to come up with inventive and exciting ways to encourage my son to write. I’ve tried video prompts, engaging hands on activities, lists, letters and stories. We’ve run laps between sentences, had writing breaks and tried every time of the day.Writing is still a struggle. He has a million ideas but trying to get them on paper is hard. He immediately becomes tired, grumpy and is distracted by the smallest of things. Even though attention can be an issue for him at times if I put a math sheet in front of him or a book or Lego he’s able to focus for hours.
So this summer my task has been reading everything I can about boys and literacy. It seemingly has become a theme for me; people I hardly know have come up and asked me about getting their boys to read and write. Dinner party conversations have taken a turn to our education system and boys and the question of does our current system meet the needs of busy boys. I’ve begun asking myself, what can we do differently at our school to engage our boys and not only teach them to read and write, but create a culture where they choose to?
I believe things begin to change when we not only recognize the problem, but begin asking questions. I don’t think it’s coincidence I have a son who is demonstrating these challenges. It’s motivating me to find an answer. I would love to end this post telling you I’ve discovered a quick fix, but we’re definitely a work in progress. My son and I are on a quest to find ways to engage not only him but other boys like him. At the end of his school career I would love to be able to say that I’ve helped him not only learn to read and write, but Love to, and Choose to.Stay tuned as the questions turn in to answers…