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John And The "social Center": A Closer Look At Group Membership

By Author: Tracy carter
Total Articles: 101

According to his teacher, Alice, and his mother, Pearl, John, out of the 10 student participants, seemed to most resist reading. Alice reported that John was reading "near grade level," but his mother reported that "getting him to read was like pulling teeth."

In school, largely because she knew John was not reading at home, Alice had John reading with four other students and a special education teacher three times per week. This, according to John, was his favorite way to read, perhaps because of its social nature. John reported that he "did not like to read." Both he and his mother reported that John did not read a single book over the summer. There were, however, moments of success over the past few years, such as one moment Breitling Replica last year, when Alice handed John a book of newspaper headlines and short newspaper stories, which John read with interest (and, perhaps not coincidentally, was a popular topic of conversation among the boys). However, the books John reported as his favorites were books he had read two years ago, in fifth grade. It is perhaps important to distinguish that John did finish most of his schoolwork and the major research and writing assignments Alice and John's other teachers assigned, though under considerable duress from his mother and teachers. But when it came time to finding a book to read during "silent reading" in Alice's class, or reading for homework, John was extremely resistant. When asked whether the thought reading was important for his future goals, John replied, "No. Like with soccer, I want to be a soccer player. I don't think reading has anything to do with soccer. Architect doesn't have a little [sic] to do with reading. You have to be a good drawer."

According to the research literature, John is not alone. Many adolescent boys report not liking to read (Ivey & Broaddus, 2001; Love & Hamston, 2003; McKool, 2007). The fact that he is part of a minority of students in this study who are strongly resistant to reading perhaps says more about the relative success of the parents, school, and teachers in focus here, than about the educational challenge John presents. Nevertheless, his parents and teachers were concerned. Alice offered a more complete picture of John as a student in school:

John sees himself as a class clown. He works at it. He is sometimes aggressive, sometimes in playful ways, sometimes not. He has good relationships with the boys. He and [another boy] and [another boy] are very close. He is a liked young man. He's in the social center. With adults I would say (John's relationships are] OK but not great because he demands a lot of time and it's not Breitling Replica Watches focused work. I don't think he's doing particularly well with [his other teachers]. Don't think he's motivated to read, I think he's motivated to not fail. The idea of failure last year pushed him to do his work. I don't see him as a particularly motivated student. He does not read much. Maybe he will read about video games or something connected to video games or soccer.

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