Harry was complaining the other day that having to read a book for school "sucks all the fun out of it."
I can't really argue with him.
Reading a good book-getting lost in that world to the point that you're surprised to find you haven't actually left your chair-is one of life's pleasures.
Having to discuss theme and character motivations and what have you - are generally not quite so thrilling.
Now - just to be clear - Harry's not in a class that teaches everything in a dry pedantic way. They answer questions based on the story, yes, they discuss the story in a group, sometimes he has to do a writing assignment that takes an aspect of the story one step further and requires a little critical analysis: what qualities do you think make a good hero, who do you consider a hero? But he's nine and he wants to just read the book and be left alone.
But reading a book for school, doesn't it have to be discussed? Don't questions have to be asked to check for a certain level of comprehension? In his reading class they do not have a "reading book" they use novels. I think that's good. But is it better to have a class that focuses on shorter passages in a reading book and leaves the novels for fun time only?
I remember when I was in middle school and we had to do at least 15 minutes of silent reading at home each night as part of our homework. Reading for 15 minutes a night was not a problem for me, then, as now, I loved to read. The part I didn't like about the assignment was that we had to keep a journal and log. We had to mark down our writing time and write a short summary of what we read every day. I hated that part. (I remember doing a week's worth of summaries at a time before handing the journal in on Fridays).
But isn't that a reasonable way to make sure that a child is actually reading something? There are always going to be students that the teacher knows is reading no matter what. But there are others who won't. Is keeping tab on the time you read and writing a short summary (I'm talking a couple of sentences here) really so awful. I thought it was when I had to do it.
So... how do you teach reading and keep reading fun at the same time?