Read Me

Beauty in the day: Today I tricked a 3rd grade girl into reading her whole book. She was required to stay back from a field trip, and had a bit of an attitude. She didn’t want to do any work. I gave her a long, hard stare, and then proceeded to offer to bring her some drawing paper, so she could draw instead. She stared hard right back, then huffily took out a tiny chapter book she had started. “Oh – are you going to read instead?” (this was, of course, the suggestion in the first place.) Let’s see – you are on Chapter 3. What if we set a goal? Let’s see if you can finish Chapter 3, and get all the way through Chapter 5. Oh – wait – maybe that will be too much. Maybe we should set your goal to get through Chapter 4.” She stared…. She showed up at my desk to show me where she was at. Middle of Chapter 7. “Wait – what? You are in the middle of Chapter 7!” She looked a little flabbergasted – just for a second, then got her composure. “Well, I think we need to set a new goal. How about getting to the end of Chapter 9 (there are 11 chapters in this book)?” She looked at me dubiously, more concerned that she might be getting manipulated than anything else. “Actually, I don’t know,” I told her. “Often the latter Chapters start to get hard, so maybe you should just work on Chapter 9. I’m not sure if you can get all the way through Chapter 9 today.” She went to make sure I was wrong. She brought it back in the middle of Chapter 10. She was having a hard time hiding her pleasure, but she was doing it. “Well, there is only an hour left, and I was about to suggest that you just finish the book, but who would ever believe you anyway? You read a whole book while your class was on a field trip? Maybe just finish Chapter 10 and save that last Chapter for tomorrow.” I think she dropped a peacock feather or two on her way out at the end of the day. (She finished the book.)

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