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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Persnickety…

Having students “read out loud” is sometimes very painful.

Readers that are painfully slow as they try to decipher words that they should know by 5th and 6th grade, painfully hard to listen to as they mutter monotone throughout the section or read machine-gunned words nonstop with no consideration for punctuation marks or spaces between words.

“Here’s a tip!” I suggested to one machinegun boy, “When you come to a period or question mark, take a breath before continuing. All that got me was exaggerated inhale-exhale sound effects at the end of every sentence to the amusement of the rest of the class.

At least I know he’s reading!

When time starts getting tight and I know they have a worksheet or practice book page to complete for the reading session, I’ll sometimes take over the reading and let them follow along.

In reading an essay about Alaska’s grizzly bears, I was attempting to cover the last three pages of the story to allow them time to complete the associated practice book page.

“….in the Unites States…( “LOWER Unites States!” interrupted the buzz cut kid on my left)…uh, yes! You are right…in the lower United States…blah, blah, blah…one day...( “one AUTUMN day!” (buzz cut kid again)…(me with a baleful look: “right again!...one autumn day …blah, blah, blah…you don’t want to bump heads with a bear while berry picking...( BC: “BLUEBERRY picking!”)…

At this point, the girl across the table told him that he was being rude and to knock it off. “Yea, quit being so persnickety!” her friend chided in.

After giving an impressed, approving look at persnickety-girl, for using that totally unexpected unusual word in correct context, I addressed the class.

Yes it IS a bit rude to correct the teacher while reading, but I DID skip some words. At least I know he’s reading along, even if it’s only to spot my next mistake.

As soon as I said it, I knew I’d regret it.

As I read the last few pages at a slower pace to make absolutely sure I didn’t skip any words, thirty kids were focused on the text, word by word, line by line to see who could be the first detect my next error.

At least I know they’re reading!

1 comment:

Sarah Lindahl said...

I was a long-term sub for a fifth grade teacher for a few weeks once and the kids were in the habit of taking turns reading their read aloud book every day. Painful is the perfect word.