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Jumping on the bandwagon
November 23, 2010 - Kylie Saari
Well, since everyone else around here is doing it, I might as well too. This blog is about a book, or more accurately, what a book taught my son. He is seven years old and loves to read. He also loves to take on challenges, so when he heard there was a book in his school that only one boy had ever read and quizzed on, he wanted to do it too. (The quizzes, for those of you without elementary aged kids, are accelerated reader quizzes, which the kids answer questions about a book and get points for it. The points go toward prizes, etc.) The book was worth 16 points, and up until he took this book home, he had mostly been testing on 0.5 point books. So you can imagine how greedily he eyed those points promised at the end of the quiz. The book was Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke. Over 500 pages, it proved to be a challenge for my son. But not in its level or length, it was emotionally a challenge. He started it like he does all books — like a hungry man sitting in front of Thanksgiving dinner. But soon, he wasn't flipping the pages so fast, and he was getting up to see what I was doing, wandering around the house with the book in his hand. Then he stopped reading it. He went weeks without picking it up, but wasn't interested when I suggested he return it. He wanted to read it, but he just wasn't. He read other books in between — lots of Magic Treehouse books, a couple of Bailey School Kids, he even started a Goosebumps book (which I totally disapproved of, but I read myself at his age, so really couldn't do much about). Now I was worried he wouldn't remember the characters in Dragon Rider, but he was still resisting. Finally he admitted the problem. He didn't think it was interesting. Dragons just didn't do it for him, and the fairies and other magical characters simply weren't grabbing his attention. We talked about how he wanted to finish it, but wasn't interested, and we came to the conclusion that he would finish what he started simply because it was a goal he had set out. Within a week he had finished the book, and I am proud to say he passed the quiz and is now only the second student in the school to accomplish that task. But more importantly I am proud of him working through a problem, figuring out exactly what the problem was, making a goal, and sticking to it, even though it wasn't as fun as he had hoped. He beams when telling people of his accomplishment. The book has a ACOS score of 4.9, which means it is fourth grade, ninth month material, which for a second grader in his first semester is quite an undertaking. He told me he needed a rest from reading after finishing it, and I agreed. And about 20 minutes later, he decided his break was up, as he picked up The Hobbit and started reading.
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