During my time in my 5th grade placement classroom, I had the opportunity to meet individually with a student to discuss what she is currently reading. Before meeting with this student I had planned several questions to ask including what she enjoys to read most and what she enjoys to read the least, and why. However once I asked the opening question, “So what book were you reading before I asked you to talk?”, the conversation led itself! I was able to find out a lot of information about this particular student’s experience with reading, her attitude toward reading, and more. I learned that she had recently finished reading the book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, which (as you can assume) made me extremely excited! We were able to discuss the book, our favorite characters as well as our least favorites, and how we felt about certain situations the main character was put in. Although this student is a 5th grader, I felt that our conversation was very similar to many book conversations I have had in this course with my college peers. It was obvious that she received the same message from the book, which proved to me that her comprehension level is well up to par for a 5th grader. After a few minutes of discussing the book, she showed me the book she is currently reading and briefly explained the plot of it.
It seemed as if she finds enjoyment in reading, but when I asked her that very question she responded by shaking her head no. She explained that she doesn’t get enough time to read the types of books she enjoys most because in class they are assigned different workbooks and other texts to read. This isn’t necessarily a flaw of the teacher’s; it isn’t entirely possible to cover all literacy curriculum using fiction text or fairy tale text. She continued by explaining that the only time she is allowed time to read books of her choice is when she finishes the weeks center work, which typically doesn’t happen until Friday afternoons. Surprisingly enough, I remember being in a very similar situation when I reached 5th grade. At this age, students are expected to read more informational text and for the purpose of learning and completing various assignments using the text. Before this age, students simply practice reading by reading various books they choose that are appropriate for his/her reading level. I could sense this frustration of not being able to read books of her choice when conversing with her. However, she informed me that she spends time reading for pure enjoyment outside of school, which I was happy to hear!
I found this conversation to be very comfortable. The student I met with had a lot to say in response to my questions, so it felt much more like a conversation between two fellow readers rather than an interview between a student teacher and student. There was never a point in the conversation when I felt uncomfortable or unsure of what to say. This student was chosen to speak with me because she is considered one of the typically achieving students in the class; this impressed me, considering how knowledgeable and involved in reading she is! The next step I would take with this student would be to focus on comprehension of a more difficult and more informational and formal text. She seems to have no problems comprehending texts of her choice, but comprehension of a more informational text requires a different type of thinking that I was unable to assess during this conversation.