Friday, February 20, 2009

For the Love of Reading - Why Use Books as Punishment?

Grrr. Time to let out some steam.

I have a very difficult time trying to make certain teachers understand one basic principle: If you use reading as a punishment, then don't complain when the child's reading scores are low!

Have you ever heard this?
"If you don't behave, I'm going to put you over in that corner with a book!"
"You just lost recess, buster! When we go outside, take a book with you so you'll have something to do."
"No, sir. You're going to In School Suspension. Take your library book with you."

There are other similar quotes, but you get the picture. I cringe every time I hear an adult threaten a child with reading a book if they don't do "such and such". Heck, I would LOVE it if I could get out of some of my more boring classes, and instead be sentenced to a day of reading!

Why do teachers AND PARENTS use reading as a form of punishment, when we're trying to RAISE our reading test scores? Does anyone else see the double standard in this?


Erotic Horizon said...

Had to jump in on this one - Reading, writing or books never comes into play when I have to met out justice to my holy terror's - have to agree with you - cringing thought when you think reading is a punishment.

I think my kids appreciate books all the more - reading should be a pleasure not a chore or a punishment.


P.>S - That Kitty looks like he has been punished by either a vat of oil or a good book(LOL).

MJFredrick said...

I am so with you on this. Another issue I have is forcing kids to read, like requiring they take one accelerated reader test a week. My students love those Twisted Journey books, where you choose your own plot, but there's no AR test, and so they're being "punished" for reading something they enjoy (not by me, BTW-this is from the district.) GAH! Don't they know kids at ALL?

Unknown said...

I do have to agree that reading should not be a punishment BUT it never worked on my girls, they LOVE LOVE LOVE to read and when they were punished in school, never told the teacher how much they loved reading! lol

Linda LaRoque said...

I couldn't agree with you more, BUT many kids don't take the time to sit still long enough to read a magazine artlice. For some, having to read just might turn them on to the written word. Just my opinion.


Linda Mooney said...

Interesting suggestion, Linda. I can see your point. MAKE the child read something, and he might get hooked.

One teacher has a very unique approach to reading that I've started using. I begin reading them a book I know they can handle on their own (pretty much), and I stop about mid- to three-quarters of the way in. Then I leave the book out for them to finish on their own.

All in all, I think it pretty much comes down to WHAT they're reading that'll either hook 'em or loose 'em in the end. I know it does for me. As much as I love to read, sometimes my college selected literature left a lot to be desired. :(

MJFredrick said...

I do something similar-I read them the first book in a series, or a book by an author who is on their level, and often they'll stock up on them. They've gone through all the Judy Blume's in the library.

Scifibookcat said...

LOL! I had to laugh at reading as a punishment because when I was young my mother used to threaten to take away my library card if I misbehaved. Since the local library was my second home, I rarely got into trouble.

I think kids need to be exposed to reading in any form but in a positive way.

In regard to the AR testing, I sympathize with your problem of not having tests available for the books your kids are reading. Keep in mind that each library has to purchase each individual test which can be very expensive even before today's economy. That's if an AR test is even available for those books, as there has to be a large enough demand for the title for the writer/publisher of the AR tests to pay someone to write the test and publish it (one of my friends is a school librarian). BTW, my local school district is cutting all elementary district library positions as of the end of this school year and my friend will soon be out of work and lose her house as a result.

Linda Mooney said...

OhMyGosh! That's terrible! Where is this school district?

MJFredrick said...

OMG! How terrible about your friend! What is that district thinking?

I know one of my friends who wrote a children's book wrote her own AR test for the book. I don't know if she got paid for writing it, but I imagine that would encourage districts to buy her book for their libraries.

Our librarian told us each test is $3. Eek!