Thursday, October 20, 2011

Natural Consequences

Since starting in first grade last year, C's school has a reading program that requires that they read at home for 15 minutes a day (1 step).  They can obviously read more than that, but they are required as part of their homework to ready 1 step at home and then they read 1 step in class.  Each marking period they should read about 100 steps.  We did this last year and we had some trouble with it.  Not the actual reading part, because Caroline loves to read, but the recording part.  Each step has to be recorded and then signed off by a parent.  The name of the book has to be written down as well.  In first grade, we did a lot of the recording for her since she was still getting the hang of the writing thing.  While her teacher did keep track of the kids' reading, she wasn't truly strict with it and encouraged the kids to do their reading by keeping a class chart with their progress for all to see.  (They get rewarded for each 100 steps by having their name read on the announcements and getting a medal.)  Often last year, we'd let Caroline do her reading at bedtime and this often caused problems so we'd try and set the precedent of having her do the reading when she did her other homework.  Sometimes this worked, other times it didn't because she was in a bad habit of not doing it.  We made it to the end of the year and she reached her 400 steps with time to spare.  Quite often she'd slug along doing her 2 steps a day and then she'd have a banner weekend reading 10 steps.  Other times we would know she'd read and we'd just never record it.

Seriously the quantitative measure of this program makes me a little crazy.  But I know the idea is to get kids reading because there's some statistic that says that the average kid who goes to college reads X amount of books while a kid who drops out reads Y amount of books.  Whether or not this reading program will actually try and right that statistic, I don't know, but it can't hurt to give kids the motivation to read.  My only issue with it is that we're on year 2 of it already and it's becoming a bit dry and redundant.  I think they need to explore other similar types of reading programs to mix it up a bit.

Anyway, back to today.  Caroline has been doing a much better job this school year of doing her reading at the same time as her other homework.  We set that rule early this year!  Her teacher, Ms. A, is much more strict with it too.  If a child doesn't have a record of their reading from the night before, s/he will have to do their reading at recess.  Even if they read, if they don't have a parent sign off, it's too bad.  For the most part, to date, we've continued to be the ones making sure her reading got signed off on.  I don't mind doing it for the additional reading she'll do at night after she gets in bed (she's my kid who needs some quiet reading time to go to sleep), but I'm tired of having to be the motivation to get it done for her required step.  The past couple of mornings I'd sign off on my part and leave it on the table for her by her seat to fill in the book name before breakfast.  We'd tell her that she needed to do this on her own, but she didn't.  Sooooo, today, I didn't do it.  She didn't bring it to me nor did she bring it up.  Me thinks she won't have recess today and here's hoping that it teaches her a lesson and she'll get better about filling the reading log herself and leaving it out for us to sign.  We already check her homework each evening so this would be helpful to just sign off on her reading right then and there.  If this doesn't work, it might just have to happen a few more times.

I'm not truly frustrated with her because I don't like the way the reading is recorded, but it's an assignment that she knows about and she needs to complete it.  I am contemplating talking to the teacher and possibly the principal/AP nearing the end of the school year and ask if they are considering any other reading programs for next year.  Even if they change up the way they record it/reward it, it would help.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

i am pretty sure that returning to the US is going to be a bigger culture shock than we EVER expected. school sounds far from fun!