Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Confessions of a Struggling Reader

I'm a struggling reader right now. I've currently working my way through CASTLE CORONA by Sharon Creech. I picked up that book, along with about ten others, at the Scholastic Book Fair in December, and put  it in the "To Be Read" pile on my bookshelf. I love Sharon Creech- WALK TWO MOONS and LOVE THAT DOG are two of my favorite books. But I'm not much loving this book.

Don't get me wrong. It's not Sharon Creech. She is, as always, a masterful story teller. Her character descriptions are wonderful- so much so that I have marked several to share with my after school tutoring group. Creech has captured that medieval fairy tale tone really well. The illustrations, or "illuminations" as they are called in this book, are by David Diaz, another one of my favorites.

And still, I'm slogging my way slowly, slowly, slowly, through this book, stopping frequently to count how many pages are left, considering, repeatedly, reading the last chapter and calling it done.

Why? Because I don't like fantasy. With a few exceptions, e.g. THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, I flat out do not enjoy that genre. I did not even read beyond the second book of Harry Potter, and as I recall, I stopped that one half way through.

Makes me think about the importance of fitting books to their individual readers. I am a fast reader, a capable reader, a reader who loves, loves, loves books and words. I'm having to make myself pick up this book, a book that has gotten good reviews, by an author I love, almost every night. And I can't wait to be done, so that I can pick another book that I do love, Barbara O'Conner's HOW TO STEAL A DOG is next on my pile and I can't wait to read that. 

I wonder, then, what is the wisdom of choosing books for my less capable readers or of trying to force them to read something that they don't care about? How can I expect them, as struggling readers, to get through books they don't particularly care about or want to read when I, as a very capable reader, can't even do it. 

Where is the wisdom in that?

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