Under the Cottonwood Trees: Part 2

Teachers at our school have been mandated to use the Read Naturally program to help struggling readers, and the software has been installed on most classroom computers. The only trouble is, no training has been offered.

In desperation today, I went to the principal and asked that every teacher be trained how to use Read Naturally.

“I can do that,” the principal replied, “or I can come to your classroom this afternoon to show you how.”

True to her word, the principal came to my reading intervention class and showed me how to use the program with two of my reluctant readers.

After 30 minutes of observation and hands-on learning, I had a pretty good grasp of how to manage the software and how to help students gain the most benefit from it.

L-Boy decided to read a selection about trees. (I wonder if our going out to read under the cottonwoods yesterday influenced his decision.)

The principal set an arbitrary goal for L-Boy to read 85 words per minute. He far exceeded that goal, reading 112 words per minute. Plus, he answered every comprehension question correctly.

When the principal asked L-Boy if he wanted to choose another story to read, he declined.

“That’s OK,” I said. “I promised to take him outdoors to read. There are only about 10 minutes until the bell rings, so I guess I’d better keep my promise.”

L-Boy and I, along with two others from the class, walked to the picnic tables under the cottonwood trees.

“I never knew that about tree leaves,” L-Boy said, “that they have to fall off so the tree doesn’t lose water during the winter.”

“I didn’t know it either,” I said. “I learned something new today. I’m glad you read that story.”

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. L-Boy, who hates to read, having gleaned some new knowledge from a simple story about trees, eagerly shared it with me.

Between the computer and the cottonwood trees, I think I see a glimmer—no, a dazzling ray—of hope for L-Boy’s reading future.

Posted on September 24, 2010, in comprehension, reading, teaching. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. How cool that L-boy learned that he can glean something from reading! Awesome!

    And how typical for the district to mandate and put into place a program an not train people on how to use it! URG!

  2. Great story. Thanks for sharing that with us here in blogland. I think it a great idea to go outdoors and read. I mean, why not try something. If that didn’t work, then okay, you tried. Good stuff.

    Peace to you and L-boy.

  3. Awesome!

    Paz (who learned something new about trees, too. Thanks, L-boy.)

  4. just wonderful. i bet l-boy will remember this day for years–having a positive experience with reading!

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