Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 13 #sol19

Sometimes kids surprise you.  For twenty minutes before my reading student Danielle (not her real name) arrived, I had been preparing book recommendations.  Danielle has informed me that she “did not like to read,” and yet also claims to enjoy graphic novels and fantasy books.  Interesting.  So I had traveled down to the library to grab a couple of titles in each of these genres for her, along with one more book I knew to be widely popular with our middle school readers.

Returning to my office, I slid into my desk chair and pulled up Amazon on my computer screen.  A strategy I’ve found to be successful with some of the uncommitted or unmotivated readers I work with is, after procuring a small stack of recommended books, to locate “kid reviews” for books and print them off.  This way, the books I recommend aren’t just endorsed by me– “See, kids like them, too!” I say.

Danielle has not read many books this year, a fact that sends a cold shock of urgency through my body.  I’ve got to get her reading.

With a small stack of books now prepared (a strategy based on an idea presented in Kylene Beers’ article, “Choosing Not to Read: Understanding Why Some Middle Schoolers Just Say No,”) I awaited Danielle’s arrival.

Then, pushing through the door, came the surprise.  “Mr. Ball, I know what I want to read!  It’s called Middle School, and my mom’s going to buy me the book after school!”

I smiled. “That’s great!” I replied.  Sometimes kids surprise you.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 13 #sol19”

  1. Each panel
    and page, each
    drawing and
    text, each doorway
    an entry-point
    into possibilities

    — Kevin, a poem as comment in appreciation (this sounds like a conversation I just had the other day)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I love when that happens, but you realize that it’s all the talk and recommendations you made that led to this surprise. Don’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The work of a teacher can be fulfilling especially in a situation when your efforts finally bring a change in your students’ life. I can only imagine the fulfillment this brings you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Best. Moment. Ever. I had a parent email me this year that her daughter actually chose to read for the first time on her own at home! She got hooked on Princess in Black – I believe a good book, a good series can turn any kid into a reader! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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