My Authors
Read all threads
Following this thread from earlier in the term, I'm continuing to do book talks to promote wide reading with English classes from various grades. (3 in one day on Monday! Phew!) Talking one-on-one to the kids about their reading habits (or lack thereof) is proving very revealing.
I'm really explicit with the kids about why reading for pleasure is important, but also with the Year 10s I really hammer home that if they do not start right now building up their focus and attention soan, their reading muscles, then they are going to be at a huge disadvantage.
Of course, the non-readers already are, and they have a real battle ahead to make new habits and lost ground.

Anyway, here's what the non-readers seem to be consistently suggesting to me: they have this idea that to read a book, you have to READ THE BOOK:
Read it from front to back, beginning to end, in one sitting.

The concept of chunking it up in page sections or chapters is a revelation. Ten pages! I say.


OK, five! Or just fifteen minutes a day, then start adding more time, more pages.
I mean, I don't know where this idea comes from, except from lack of experience, even though the last book lots of them read was Wimpy Kid or equivalent, which even in primary school they probably could read in one sitting. But in high school, because of the high proportion...
of non-readers at our school, their English teacher often actually reads them the class novel over a couple of weeks so they have all "read" it and can therefore do the work. So they have had reading in chunks modelled, but they don't seem to translate that to personal reading.
I guess because personal reading isn't a thing, and all their other leisure activities tend to be done in a single sitting.

The other thing is, that some of them don't seem to HAVE any deep interests or leisure activities. One boy told me in all sincerity that all he does...
outside of school is sit in his bedroom & chat with his friend (texting, of course). He doesn't like movies, TV is boring, he does NOTHING, has no interests. OK, maybe sometimes the news, he said.

Drowning woman grabs the lifeboat.

What on the news is interesting to you?
Maybe war?

OK! Something to work with! Do you mean contemporary war, or historical wars, like WWI?


So I grabbed @sallymurphy's 1915, from the @ScholasticAUS "Australia's Great War" series, got him to read the back cover copy, and reader,

And indeed, lots of books were borrowed.
One of my favourite kids, who happens to share a name with one of my cats, who I also taught in Year 7, who is gorgeous & kind, but Not A Reader, was one of the ones who thought you have to read a book in one sitting.

She'd chosen @TheCharliHoward's "Misfit"
from my selection of books, and clearly was interested in it, but baulked at its apparent length. So I had the "chunking" talk, and because she likes me and trusts me, she borrowed it.…
Another boy said, well, I liked the Lord of the Rings movies, maybe I'll read the book.

(I started him off with The Hobbit.)
One of our Aboriginal girls, who I taught at the end of Year 7, and who HATED me back then, but who has come around in the years since, took home My Girragundji and its two sequels...…
The Binna-Binna Man and Njunjul the Sun. She read Girragundji overnight & returned it, having already started the next book. Now. Girragundji is primary school level, but this is an student with diagnosed learning difficulties, and finishing a book is a real achievement for her.
It also shows the value of patience, building trust even over years, because I can promise you 18 months ago she wouldn't give me the time of day. I guess that's why teachers have to be the grown-ups when kids are mean to us (and they can be cuttingly mean, make no mistake).
Don't know how Hobbit Boy & War Boy are going, but Cat Girl (who borrowed "Misfit") stopped me today & said,

Miss! I'm 5 chapters into the book! I did what you said, & then I just KEPT READING! I am so proud of myself!

That's fantastic. I'm proud of you too, Cat Girl, I said.
(I don't actually call her "Cat Girl", you understand. There's also Cat Boy who was in the same class as her in Year 7, and I keep them updated with news of how their feline namesakes are getting on. I'm sure this thrills them no end.)
Anyway, this is just another long and meandering thread to say, talking books with kids/teens is basically the oil that drives my engine, and it's never to late to encourage a young person to read, you just have to a.) KNOW THE BOOKS and b.) get to know the young person...
and if I haven't said it enough times before:


Please unroll @threadreaderapp thank you
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Judith Ridge

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!