Thursday, January 10, 2008

Setting the hook

I came across this quote this week by the old Virginia Civil War minister Samuel Davies. Though it does not reflect my day, I still love it!

Today had one of those "Yes!" moments.

I passed out books to my sixth graders that I had specially picked out for them from the public library. The boys all got My Side of the Mountain. For a few of the girls, I picked out Pippi Longstocking and Little House in the Big Woods. There were an assortment of other titles passed out also.

Before Christmas, I told the class that we were going to step-up reading so that they could increase their reading speed and exposure to books. Well, today was the day. Most of my sixth graders gasp at having to read a 200 page book in three weeks. What my goal is (of course they'd die if I told them) to have them reading a 200 page book in a week. Some of my students can read several books that length in a week, so the goal with them is to step it up even higher.

I put the books in their "mailboxes" before they got to class. They asked and asked about the books and my answer was always "I'll tell you all about them after our spelling test and grammar lesson!"

They were so excited! Until I told them that they must be finished with the book by January 31. Oh the moans and groans and "I can't!", "There's no way!"

Well, I had a plan all along. The bait was out now. They just had to grab it. After the explanation and encouragement to spend twenty minutes every evening reading, I told them to start reading. Right now. I gave them their first twenty minutes. They grabbed the bait and it wasn't long before the hook was set.

After those minutes, we had to finish history and then it was time for the bell. The teacher of their next class told me later that as soon as the kids came into her room, their hands shot up and they asked. "Please, Mrs. Z, may we read some?" Ah-hah! The magic is working! And fortunately Mrs. Z just had to attend to some pressing teacher business and said "Sure! This works out perfectly; you read and I will get this done."

One of my best readers came into my room after school and handed me his copy of My Side of the Mountain. Not knowing why he was handing it back, I was taken back. But then he smiled that sweet smile of his and said, "I finished it. It was great. Will you get me some more of her books?"

Now that made my day! Not that he whizzed through the book, but that he asked for more.
Yes, indeed, B., I'll make a special trip back by the library today just for you.

1 comment:

Peregrina said...

Oh, I'll be that just made your day!

And I loved the quote.