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24 book reports a year - isn't this a bit excessive? - Page 2

post #21 of 32

I'm curious about a few things. First, what does a book report consist of for his teacher? I've seen book reports that were written on slips of paper than consisted of little more than writing down the title and author, and one sentence about what you liked or didn't about the book. I've seen book reports that are 2 pages typed, and required some sort of analysis of what was read. For 24 book reports, how much does he have to do besides write down that he wrote the book?


Second, how much reading time do they get at school? Some schools have SSR (sustained silent reading) and the amount of time spent on that could most likely let a decent reader get through a 100 page book in a week and a half. If they actually spent the time reading, which some kids just don't.


So, depending on the WHOLE set up, I think it's possible that it isn't completely crazy.


On the other hand, if the book reports are long and involved and they don't have time to read at school, I agree that it's crazy.


Today is our last day of school. I'm kinda surprised to a see thread like this so late in the year. It seems like it would have been a issue months ago.


I'm also not overly hung up on grades.  Bs are fine. Teaching kids they gotta get As in everything all the time is just teaching them the wrong thing, IMHO. Cs really aren't the end of the world either.


(One of my kids is a straight A student, one isn't. Oddly, the world hasn't come to end).

post #22 of 32

Sounds like the teacher is doing an awesome job teaching her students how to bull their way through life rather than teaching them how to be critical thinkers.

post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 

To answer some of the questions:  The book report consists of a cover page that covers the basics - title, author, main characters, selected passage from book, etc.  Then the student is to write a standard 3 paragraph page.  Intro, body, conclusion.  The reading time they get in the classroom is sporadic, only when all their work is done.  Of course, writing is my son's weakest area, so he is never ever done with all his writing work early and therefore never has any time to read in class.  So it's the kids who read and write the most quickly who get the most time in class to work on their book reports.


I personally don't care at all about grades, but my son does.  I wish they didn't even have them.  I was a straight A student all through school, and learned almost nothing (just knew how to test and was the right kind of learner for a classroom setting), so I know for a fact that a grade doesn't have any reflection of actual knowledge.  In fact, my son just came home the other day and told me in a sad voice that he would be getting a B+ in science because he hadn't had time to finish outlining his words with black sharpie (because it takes him so long to write them in the first place) and therefore his year end project was marked down, bringing his whole grade down.  My son could practically teach the science they do in his class, and I'd wager that in a one on one with his teacher, he would know more than she does. 


And the book reports have been an issue all year.  The first quarter, before my son was completely burnt out, he did 5-6 book reports and had an A- in language arts because his book report grade was a B.  The second quarter he was getting a bit burnt out, and it was winter and we were all sick almost constantly.  He only turned in 3 book reports (which is a D), and got a C in language arts.  This quarter he is definitely burnt out, and will be turning in 3 book reports, so we are expecting a C again.  Again, I don't care what letter grade he gets, but regardless of how many times we talk about it, he still can't shake that it is somehow reflective of how smart he is. 


But honestly, by bigger gripe is how it kills his love of reading!  He reads all the time.  Sometimes he likes to read the same book over and over.  Sometimes he wants to read cartoon/graphic novels.  Sometimes he goes through the old stack of Sunday funnies we have and reads them for hours.  Often he reads his non fiction books about insects or volcanoes or how planets are formed.  I see no positive educational value in forcing him to put down what he is enjoying reading so he can read a novel he isn't interested in.


By the way, his class hasn't done a single research paper the entire year.  Nothing other than book reports.  Zip, zilch, nada.  And, the only oral presentation they have done is an oral book report!  I just don't get it.

post #24 of 32
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post

By the way, his class hasn't done a single research paper the entire year.  Nothing other than book reports.  Zip, zilch, nada.  And, the only oral presentation they have done is an oral book report!  I just don't get it.

I'd complain, in writing, to the principal.I'd focus on how the excessive book reports have hurt my child's desire read, on the lack of creativity, and what they HAVEN'T done.


It's too late to do anything about your son this year, but the teacher needs her boss to talk to her so that her class next year isn't subjected to the same nonsense. Telling us is one thing, telling her boss could actually make a difference.


We used to homeschool too, and the first year in school, both my kids had trouble with writing because they wrote so much slower than they other kids. I'm wondering if part of the problem has been that it has taken him much longer than average to complete every assignment, and that most kids got a lot of this done in class. But even with that, I think that requiring that exact some format for a book report so many times is stupid. It would be one thing to require the kids to prove they read that many books, but not like that.



post #25 of 32

Does he have a disability related to writing, or is it more that he is not used to it? Something like this may help him  http://www.renlearn.com/neo/NEO2

post #26 of 32

Is it allowed in board guidelines to quote people's posts on blogs without their consent? 

Edited by Momily - 5/29/11 at 1:17pm
post #27 of 32

This is an excellent summary of what's going wrong in reading programs today.  I posted it to my blog, the Coalition for Kid-Friendly Schools:




Here's my response:


Actually, I've got some easy answers: why not leave the kids alone? The common thread running through all these strategies is that reading for pleasure has been taken away from the child and is now owned by the teacher. The child has to prove, to the teacher's satisfaction, that he's reading the prescribed amount of prescribed content (and having the prescribed "thoughtful" response!) in what used to be his free time. It's enough to make anyone hate reading.

post #28 of 32

Momily, the reason I quoted your comment was because I thought it was clear and well-written.  You gave a very clear overview of the various strategies schools use to try to promote reading, and very clear descriptions about how every one of these strategies can go wrong.  Why wouldn't you want this quoted? 


I thought the important thing was to cite people (which I did, with a link back to mothering.com), and to inform them that I had quoted their work.  Since your work was published in a public forum, I thought that was enough.  If I hear from the board moderator that it isn't, I'll take down my post.


post #29 of 32

My comments were made in a context.  To take them out of that context, and write a reply, that I can't reply to equally (leaving a comment isn't the same as having your response in the blog) is unfair. 


If you want to comment on my thoughts on your blog, make a link and let people see what I wrote in the context in which it was written, but please don't copy my words.

post #30 of 32

There's a couple of reasons I prefer to quote rather than just link --


1.)  It's more convenient for readers of my blog.


2.) The quoted material might be edited or deleted later.


I linked back to this discussion, so readers are welcome to look at the context your comments were made in.


I think what you're really objecting to is my conclusion, but my conclusion is amply supported by your own words.  You're right to say that kids experience a lot of these requirements as "punitive".  I couldn't have said it better myself.


post #31 of 32

Momily, I removed your quote from my blog.  Can you repost it here?  As I said, I thought it was an excellent summary of the strategies schools use to promote reading.

post #32 of 32

Thank you so much for deleting it.  Howeve, I no longer have it to repost. 



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