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Do 'reading tasks' spoil enjoyment?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by greta444, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    My head insists that after a child has finished reading any book they should have a task to follow such as a book review, related writing task or research on the author.
    I think this takes the enjoyment out of reading knowing that when you reach the end you have this task to complete before you can go onto another book. I teach year 6 who are superb readers. (I cannot attribute the fact that they are superb readers to the reading tasks as I have been sneakily not making the children do them)
    What do you think about these tasks?
  2. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Ugh, how horrible.
    I think there is a place for these activities - during guided reading sessions or literacy sessions. But EVERY time they finish a book? There's a way to discourage them from reading if ever I heard one....
    What happened to reading just because....you like reading?
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    My class generally want to do something that tells me about the book they have finished. As I don't always have time to listen to an account of every single book they read, a written task is important. Granted I have year 2 now, but I had year 6 last year and 5 the year before and they were no different.

    For upper KS2, I never 'made' them do a task, there was a list of possibilities in the room and they chose one or other as they wished. By the end of each half term we had a large pile of reviews, research, opinions, persuasive letters, posters, etc to do with the books they had read. These were put into a single book which was put in the reading corner for them to look at whenever they wanted. By the end of the year, obviously, we had six of these lovely books and the children were really proud of them.

    Can't honestly say whether this made any difference to their actual reading, but it certainly enhanced their enjoyment of reading and allowed me to see what they had understood or not of the book.

    I'm a bit more prescriptive with year 2, and they do a lot of smaller tasks as they go through a book. But these are in their reading journals. Again they like to write/draw things to do with their book and love to read what I think as well.
  4. Put it this way
    If i had a writing task every time i finished reading book - i wouldn't read - would you??
    I read for relaxation, entertainment, information, escapism - not to write.
  5. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    Completely agree. Of course there is value in doing a follow-up task SOMETIMES. But no way should it be for every book.
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I agree
    There are times when such tasks are appropriate but children should also be allowed to read for the fun of it
  7. I remember loathing book review type tasks when I was a kid. It seems very dry and analytic as a response to a good book. I think I would have responded better to writing a sequel, or a different ending - something more creative. Reviewing a book is probably better done in dialogue with others who have read it or are considering reading it, reading group style.
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    You can really take the fun out of reading if you try. My son regularly tells me off for daring to ask questions when I am reading a book to him. Apparently "it's distracting from a good story".

  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I think that is why having a free choice of activities works well. And plenty of time to do whichever task to a good standard.

    Having read responses here I think it must depend a lot on how you present the tasks and the general attitude to reading and books in the classroom. Maybe it also depends on what you do with the tasks, I've never ever 'marked' them just valued whatever appeared. I've also never checked they were done, just placed a really high value on them. I'd also never consider stopping a child reading a book until they had done a task.

    I do think you could compromise with your HT (not by telling them that you are, obviously!) by putting up a list of possible ways children could respond to their book once finished. Display all pieces that you get from the children in a fabulous way and really reward and praise those who complete any tasks. But don't insist upon it or check up they have been done, definitely not stop them reading until a task is done. Then your HT will see a fabulous display of tasks, probably not realise most children aren't doing them for most books and everyone is happy.
  10. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Thank you minnie, I think this will have to be the way forward and will probably avoid a b****king from above.
    Thanks to all of you who have responded with your thoughts. I am not alone in believing that reading should be an enjoyable activity!
  11. Cervinia

    Cervinia Occasional commenter

    You really needed to be told how to avoid a pointless/undesired request from a headteacher?
    Your HT clearly isn't setting enough.
  12. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Thanks for that Cervinia. I have been in the game long enough now to know how to avoid the s**t falling from above.
    Just wanted opinions on this particular bit. Yours wasn't particularly helpful but hey, I know when to ignore pointless/undesired posts.
  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Heyyyy I thought Cervinia's post was meant humorously! I was going to respond that I am an expert at avoiding a bo***king and making it look like I am complying even when doing the exact opposite. Hence being able to give advice on this one.

    But yes, my HT does ask for lots of nonsense...
  14. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    humph! I seem to have lost the ability to avoid bollockings lately. [​IMG]

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