Friday, March 29, 2013

Now I Get It

Meet Roy, a charming young man from Costa Rica. When Roy was younger, his mom said, "Why don't you study the violin?" He tried it, but he didn't like it. He said it was boring.
About four years ago, Roy's mom dragged him to a concert featuring Midori. If you've ever heard beautiful music and felt a stirring in your soul, you'll understand what happened to Roy when he heard the extraordinary performer play. As they left, Roy said, "Now I get it. Mom, I want to study the violin."

Are there reluctant readers in your school, classroom, or home who don't yet understand how wonderful reading is? Maybe they, like Roy, would say, "I don't want to. It's boring."
We have the power to be like Midori for them. Our read-alouds can be the concerts that change how they feel about our instrument: books. When we choose delightful, powerful, suspenseful, hysterically funny, or heartbreakingly moving books, we increase the chances that those reluctant readers will finally say, "Oh, now I get it! I want to be a reader."

It doesn't matter if we teach first graders or twelfth, reading aloud can pull them in and capture them for life.

Back to Roy: He taught himself to play the violin using YouTube videos and won a scholarship to a violin camp in Alabama. While there he went to an orchestra concert and when it was over, he begged the musicians to teach him. They were so impressed with his passion and drive that one of the members, a violin teacher, invited him to live with her family. He is working to get into a performing arts school and hopes to audition for a symphony.

Like Roy, if we can capture a reader, they won't mind the work and drive it takes to become one. In fact, they won't let anything stop them.


  1. Lori- Love this story! What a powerful comparison! Your second paragraph is absolutely perfect! This is exactly why I read to kids every single chance I get and why I tell teachers to read to their students. (I'm a literacy coach, so I don't have my own classroom now). Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Carol. I love that we both have this passion.

  2. It's definitely a powerful thing. It's why I loved The Book Whisperer- I can't use everything she did in my own classroom, but it reminded me again that our kids need to learn to love reading to really be great at it. It reminded me how the students' love of reading can really be in my hands, 99% of the time, by getting to know who they are and getting to know books so well that I can recommend something for them.

    With my students' reading journals this year, I feel like I've gotten so much closer to my kids as readers, and I have a few students each week come up and say, "I'm looking for a new book. Can you recommend something?" I LOVE it, because they trust me to find them a great book.

    The past couple of weeks, I have read aloud almost exclusively informative text- and as a result, my kids are poring over it like you wouldn't believe. Sometimes all it takes is a push!

    Thanks for a great comparison. We need to be that travel agent to the world of books, helping our students see all the places they can go!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

    1. Jenny, I love that you have ignited a passion for informative text! What lucky students you have! Thanks for the note.