Walking a Mile in a Reluctant Reader’s Shoes

For the past few days I feel like I have been walking in the shoes of some of my more reluctant readers.  As a voracious reader, it is often difficult for me to imagine not enjoying a book.  I read constantly and widely, across many genres.  However, suddenly I am that reluctant reader.  During the summer I enjoy reading some of the adult books that I put aside during the school year in my quest to read the award winners before they are chosen.  This year, one of those books is Justin Cronin’s The Passage. I had heard a lot about this book and downloaded it onto my new iPad after school ended.  I have been attempting to read it for the last week and I feel like I am getting nowhere!

It is such a strange feeling for me, someone who loves reading.  I don’t know how to handle this.  The book is dragging for me.  It’s not that I don’t like the story- in fact, I love the world Cronin builds and the premise is fascinating.  Yet, I drag myself over to the book and have to force myself to read.  Once I read for a little bit I find myself pulled in again, but I also find myself constantly annoyed.  It’s a huge book and despite reading for a week, it’s like I have barely made a dent in the pages.  I am just under page 400 and there are 1400 pages in my ebook.  It’s like it will never end, which is discouraging as a reader.  I love the book and hate it, all at the same time.

As I’m reading I am trying to put myself in the shoes of my reluctant or struggling readers.  Is this how they feel when they are given a book?  How discouraging must it be to read for an extended period of time and feel like the book is never ending and you haven’t made any progress!  A lot of my colleagues and friends have read or are reading the book and I feel like there is peer pressure on me, making me want to finish the book.  But I also feel like I shouldn’t force myself to keep reading!  It’s quite a conundrum.  I also feel like the odd one out, because all the reviews I have read praise the book and refer to the edge-of-your-seat action.  Yet, I have to force myself to pick it up.

I do plan to finish the book, because the plot does fascinate me, even if the execution is dragging on forever.  I want to know what happens at the end!  But I am glad that I have been placed in the position because as teachers, I think it is important that we identify with all of our students.  One of the best ways to do that is to put ourselves in their shoes as often as possible.  I look forward to sharing my experience reading this book with my students once school starts up again.  I feel like it will serve as a bridge between myself and some of my reluctant readers.

7 Responses

  1. Always. Couldn’t agree more!

  2. Hi there! Thank you for your wonderful blog. I am launching the reading workshop in my 7th grade classroom this school year, and wondering if you might consider directing me to any resources that have ideas for mini lessons for the reader’s workshop. I have a strong handle on mini lessons for writing workshop, but I am often feel I need more to draw upon for reading mini lessons. Thank you! –Treavor

  3. Does the iPad have anything to do with it? I use the Kindle app for iPhone (on an iPod Touch) and while it’s great for reading in short bursts – five minutes on the bus, a few minutes in bed – I don’t like to use it on the plane or for other long reading sessions. Obviously you don’t have the tiny screen, but the display is still not as friendly on the eyes as paper (or a Kindle).

    • I love the iPad but agree it isn’t for long sessions of reading. However, in this situation it really is just the book. The story and writing are driving me insane!

  4. […] Sarah from The Reading Zone walks a mile in a reluctant reader’s shoes. […]

  5. Myabe you need a different situation to finish the book like a long beach vacation or a long plane ride. Sometimes timing is everything!

  6. i read this book and greatly enjoyed it; however, cronin’s writing really drags in certain places. i noticed that he used some of the same descriptive phrases several times (“jeweled teeth”) and his writing was becoming predictable.

    i finished it anyway, because i was committed to the characters (Amy, at least). let us know how you feel at the end!

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