Monday, November 30, 2009
HAVING A SLOW READER FOR A TEACHER
This morning I fell in behind a very slow driver on my way to school, and within seconds I was fuming, much the way my students probably seethe when I make them read a book like To Kill a Mockingbird little by little, paragraph-by-paragraph, sometimes sentence-by-sentence. This morning, as a dilly-dallied behind this unhurried driver, I impatiently wanted to get on with the business of the day, and my students, I feel sure, would like to get on with the plot of Lee’s novel as quickly as possible and then dash on to the next book. I wanted to get to school quickly so I could quickly get to my next goal, and then my next, and on and on, and I fear the students think of reading in the same way. They read a book to get to the end, and then they start another book to get to its end, and on and on. Things are very different in my English class, and I’m surprised I didn’t make the connection this morning. This languid driver ahead of me was like old Mr. Salsich, the infamously slow reader. The driver made me slow way down so I had nothing better to do than admire the unblemished morning landscape, and I make my students slow down as they travel through the pages of Lee’s beautiful novel. Sometimes we even come to a momentary standstill among some splendid sentences, perhaps even park by the side of a paragraph for a full period. “Yikes!” my students must be thinking, just as I was thinking this morning as I meandered along behind a leisurely, perfectly satisfied driver.