I recently read Donalyn Miller's, Reading in the Wild, and it is having an impact on how I'm working with readers. I have been conferring with 4th graders during independent reading time within the reader's workshop. It's been a challenge because so many of the kids I'm working with are experts at fake reading.
I've been bugging several of the boys because all they want to read are Captain Underpants books. Now don't get me wrong. I understand why the kids enjoy those books, but I didn't understand why they were so reluctant to read something a little more mature. So I continued to nag...and real reading wasn't happening.
Today I decided that I was going to trust the reader. While I was talking with one student I asked him why he wasn't reading. He was so honest. "Reading is boring. I really don't like it. I read a little bit, but then it gets boring. Reading isn't fun." OUCH!!! Reading is boring?!?
After more honest conversation he told me that the last time he wasn't bored while reading was when he was reading the 8th Captain Underpants book. So what does this reader need? He needs what he wants...Captain Underpants #9.
So it's time for me to trust the reader. He is choosing the book he needs. The book he needs is the book he wants.