Haroun is still reading Goosebumps, and will be for some time. We started a new book yesterday, and this morning he read 15 pages. At this rate, it will still take him about 8 days to finish. That’s better than the last book – his speed is improving with daily practice. The next will be even quicker, and the easier his reading becomes, the more he will enjoy the books.
But Haroun has made less progress this summer than I hoped. His slow reading is the most pressing problem right now. The chapters in this Goosebumps are longer (4-5 pages each), and it may take him 30 minutes or more to read one. He struggles to keep focus through a full chapter, and I sometimes find he has missed a key idea. He has returned to the practice of underlining key ideas, and then reviewing the chapter before re-telling it to me.
The good news is that he loves the stories. He took a Goosebumps home over the weekend and asked his older sisters to help him read it. That’s good, because our sessions will end when Haroun enters high school, and hopefully his family will continue to build his reading habits.
We did a back-of-an-envelope calculation together and guessed that the best reader in Haroun’s class has probably read 250 books in her lifetime, and he is still in single digits. He is determined to catch up, and knows that means an hour or two of reading EVERY DAY, forever.
I’m not doing much anymore in our morning sessions, I just sit beside Haroun, keeping him company, reading my own book, and modelling the enjoyment of reading.
This morning my reading material was a complex text on implementing ‘Fuzzy Logic’ controllers, I underlined and made notes as I went. Frequently I had to flip back and re-read. When we took a break and walked, I tried to re-tell the ideas I was learning. It wasn’t lost on Haroun that these are the same skills that we have learned and practiced together.
Usually Haroun attends camp after our session, but not today, so we had time to visit the Indigo bookstore at the Eaton’s Center. I’m pretty sure Haroun hasn’t spent any time in a bookstore before. To a non-reader, a bookstore would seem like a medieval torture chamber. It may have been a bit overwhelming.
We found our way to the teen fiction section, and walked the shelves. I pointed out and described the book series that I hoped he would soon be reading – Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent, Mortal Instrument, 39 Clues. We took a few down and read the first paragraph or two – no question that he COULD read the words, but not quite ready.
We finished at the shelves with the Goosebumps and Hardy Boys. He was delighted when I pulled out some of the titles that he had already read, it was a confirmation that he was a real reader. Then I set him to the task of picking a few books to read next, here are the three he selected. Lots of great reading ahead.