I have always marveled at the students that do not take the time given to free read in my room. If someone told me that I had time to read what I wanted, I would shower them with kisses and hugs. But kids that have not yet been hooked on reading tend to resist. They hold the book. They sit on the sofa. They turn the pages. They don't read.
I also think that the kids are amazed when I can tell they are not reading. As an avid reader, teacher, and mother, I know what real reading looks like from across the room. A 'staged' reader is like a siren with flashing lights in my room.
We have to grab those readers gently. Place the right book in their hands at the right time. An almost impossible task! Right?
Here is what I have been trying. I start every year with a shared reading - The BFG by Roald Dahl. It is a funny fantasy about people eating giants. We stop frequently, discuss freely, and reread the funny parts. I do with them the same thing I do alone when I read. Follow that with viewing of the movie and a compare and contrast essay about the book ~ it is a winning combination. I will usually see a few copies of The BFG or other titles by Roald Dahl being carried around by those that I have successfully 'grabbed'.
Then it is time for step 2... pay attention and model, model, model. I ask about the books they get from the library. I read the titles I see a lot. I conference and recommend. I get in the zone with them. I ask them to read to me. I continue to read to them. Gently grabbing the reader in all of them.
Reading is living. Reading is understanding. Reading is a gift ~ share it.