Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What would Jesus Read?

Some days you know you are where you belong! A week of Dr. Seuss Fun, thanks to teachers who support Read Across America! Then this afternoon as I was heading to "car duty" I noticed one 1st grade student at the computers. "I've got to do dismissal," I said. "But I have to take this test," he wailed. "If I don't I'm gonna get a spankin'!"

I told him to let me do dismissal and then come back to the library (he is in YMCA aftercare) and he could take the test. I was thinking I'd come back and let, him take the test and be free in 10 minutes to head to physical therapy. Like so many things in life, it was not what it seemed. When he arrived he almost immediately called for help. "There are big red letters and the computer won't let me take the test."

When I read his screen I discovered that, indeed, he couldn't take the test because he had already done so. (We use Accelerated Reader, a program that encourages students to read books of their choice, take computerized quizzes, and earn points toward a goal which when met - entitles them to attend and win prizes at a special party).

"All right, go pick out another book and we will read it together and you can take that test," I said. He went to the shelves and picked a book at his level and returned to my desk. Sitting next to me, we began the laborious process that reading is for a non-fluent reader. In all it would take nearly 45 minutes of intense individual attention to complete this task.
After just a few pages he stopped and said, "This is too hard." I looked at him and said, "Yes,
Alex, this is hard, but most everything in life is hard if it is worth anything at all. When you master these words and learn to read you will feel proud because you will know you achieved something worthwhile."
"Do you think I am having fun?" I asked. "No." was the meek response. "I could be out having fun, but I am here with you working very hard to help you learn to read."

"Why do you think I am doing this with you?" I asked. "I don't know." was the limp reply of somone who knows they have already lost the argument. I knew that his parents were participants in a church so I used resources I don't ordinarily employ as a public school librarian. "What does Jesus tell us to do?" I asked. You could see the wheels turn, "Read?" he replied earnestly.
"Well, I don't know if Jesus every told anyone to read, Alex, but he should have! I told him I was expecting him to say Jesus taught us to "love one another," and if we do that we will help each other, and while I was not having fun, I was doing what Jesus told me to do, helping him read!

When I got home I used the concordance to see if Jesus had perhaps told us to read, and Alex knew something I didn't. --- 1 Timothy 4:13 "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." Of course Jesus didn't say it, but at least it is about reading....

It was a good day at school!