Children's Books

Friday, March 25, 2016

That Darn Captain Underpants

It's been almost a month since I wrote a post about trusting readers and giving readers book choice. I had been nagging a student about his reading choices to the point that he had just stopped reading. Then I read Donalyn Miller's book, Reading in the Wild, and saw her in person. Her quote, "When you diminish the reader's choice,  you diminish the reader." really hit me hard. All my nagging about choosing more "complicated" books were diminishing my readers. I decided that I would stop nagging my readers and trust my readers with their book choices.

Back to my reader... he told me that he really felt like he wanted the finish the remaining Captain Underpants books before he could start reading something different.  I told him I trusted him and would support him in any way possible to meet this goal.  That meant I took him to the school library to find Captain Underpants #9. He started reading, and he didn't stop this time. I went to the public library and checked out books #10, #11, & #12. Then he finished #11 and started #12. I couldn't believe it! This student was really reading again. He was engaged with his book almost all the time now during independent reading time.  He was meeting his goal. That darn Captain Underpants had helped my friend see himself as a reader who could make a goal and reach it.

Now I started getting nervous. My friend was almost finished with the entire Captain Underpants series! What in the world was he going to choose to read next? It had been easy when he knew there would be another book in the series to choose from. His teacher and I were working to come up with books we could build for his next preview stack, but something even better happened. Our Captain Underpants expert heard a book buzz about Raina Telegemeier's Smile from a fellow classmate. He decided that he would give Smile a chance.  He didn't need a suggestion from me. He was doing what readers do. He was taking a recommendation from a peer. Thanks Captain Underpants for helping my friend grow as a reader. Thanks for helping me trust my readers. They know what they need, and they know what they want.

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