Ben (named changed) is one of my most reluctant 7th grade readers. He’s in the AIS (Academic Intervention) class and unapologetically and proudly claims he does not read. The beauty of the class is that I follow a reading workshop model so the kids get a lot of time with eyes on print. For some, like Ben, that class time is the only time the student engages in independent reading. However, this year Ben started the year remotely and on the rare occasion that he actually signed on to the google meet, there was little to no interaction or response. Lo and behold, a few weeks ago Ben made a grand entrance into class, new outfit and all, to return to live instruction. It took some doing, but he found a book and during class he was reading consistently, albeit slowly. Then he disappeared again for some time only to show up remotely this week. He asked if he could talk with me privately at the end of class. While conferring during class, I suggested he switch books. An easier and shorter book would be more manageable and I explained to him that it would feel good to finish a book that he could be successful with rather than plod along in a book he may not finish. I shared my screen and together we found an ebook. I left him to read and we reconnected near the end of class. He has read several chapters and I could tell he felt good about that. I pointed out how quickly, at that pace, he would be able to finish the book. Just before the bell rang, I reminded him to stay logged on so we could chat privately as he had requested. “Oh, I changed my mind,” he said, “I don’t need to do that.” Mmm, I thought, that’s odd. A little concerned, I asked why he changed his mind. “Well, I was gonna tell you that I was giving up, but now I don’t have to.”
“Good,” I answered, “because that isn’t an option.” He laughed and signed off
leaving me staring at the screen with a big smile on my face and gratitude for a small but wonderful victory.