Most kids are excited to learn to read. Many of them lose their spark at some point. At some point reading stops being fun, stops being enjoyable and becomes a chore.
While students are first learning to read, the newness of it, how liberating it can be, are enough to hold most readers. Even then, readers start to lose the joy reading provides.
So, how do we get readers who have lost that love of reading? Choice! It’s a beautiful gift that we give ourselves as adults yet rarely do we afford this empowering option to young readers.
Think about it, if you have read a book by an author and you know you hate it, you don’t force yourself to read more, you look for something else. It’s ok to say, “hey, give this author a try” or “these are classic works of literature, pick a style or genre and try it out” but to continue cramming 19th Century British Literature down their throats is a great way to turn off anyone for whom that style is not their cup of tea.
Giving your students choice is challenging, and also scary. They will not all be doing the same thing, and they will not all need the same skills at the same time. Ultimately it comes down to this, do you want to make sure they have read books x,y, and z? Or do you want to develop kids that love reading, and devour book after book using the skills and techniques you share with them?
I would rather see readers, that love reading and use reading skills on their own any day of the week!