Monday, November 14, 2016

Group Effort

I'm running a book group for girls who are struggling readers during our new intervention period. At the beginning of the session I brought some books that I thought they might enjoy, but they ended up choosing a novel that is very popular right now, but somewhat above their level. I agreed to their selection, because I figured that with high interest and my support, they would be able to read and enjoy the first book in a series that many of their peers were talking about.

When we started, I had not read the novel myself, and that was okay, too, because I wanted to be engaged as a new reader with them. Well, that was the theory, anyway. I'm not sure I would have continued much beyond the opening chapters if it weren't for my commitment to the group, and I know several of the girls felt the same way.

For them? The exposition, where the author introduced us to a world several hundred years in the future was too hard and confusing. The setting was both familiar and alien, and as weak readers, it was hard for them to distinguish between what was realistic but unfamiliar to them and what was pure science fiction.

To me? The book was a little too predictable, particularly because of the conceit of the series where most characters and much of the plot are based on fairy tales. But the conflict between our experiences has turned out to be the key to our constructive conversations as they point out what confuses them and I show them the blatant clues.

And? I'm almost through with the second book of the series. How bad can it be?

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