Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Poke a Squid (Unstructured Reading)

My 6th grader slogged through his assigned book
(Holes - go see the play at NCT if you're in town)
for school at a glacial rate despite its innate readability
and boycentric themes: dirt, treasure, stinky sneakers.
There was one glorious day when he kept reading
after I told him he could stop. I'm still celebrating
and puzzling over that incident.
But his preferred books continue to be short ones
with pictures, read in a sprawled position, preferably 
while holding a string.
This week he's glommed on to

Dirty Laundry Pile: Poems in Different Voices
Never Poke a Squid by Denys Cazet.
Apparently, Dirty Laundry Pile is purely
for inspiration-
"I don't want to read it, I want to play it."
Like most of the games he plays with his brother,
this involves a lot of repetition, scrambling, yelping
("Dirty laundry pile! Help!")
and has little literary or poetic value, but they seem to
enjoy it.
"I read Never Poke a Squid because they pledge
allegiance to a pigeon."
The first graders of Squid spill all over the
pages, all talking at once, with the main
narrative boxed off. So though the subject
is elementary, the presentation is a bit chaotic
and I think my boy's ability to zoom in on the 
pigeon joke shows progress in filtering. Since 
he's also going into his brother's room and pulling 
out Blue's Clues he is clearly using completely 
different criteria to choose his books than I am.
I guess you can lead a boy to Shakespeare, but 
you can't make him soliloquize.
-Spectrum Mom

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