Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Good to Be King

by Tom Petty...1994.

Scene: Grad school...I was tutoring two 3rd grade boys in my summer literacy intensive. One was endlessly antsy; the other was defiant and angry. Hence their difficulty in learning to read in a regular classrom during the year. It was them and me in a small, airless, non-air conditioned room on the third floor of Bailey Hall.

I tried everything. They hated to be there, it was sweet summer in Maine, after all. They threw the "baby" books across the room. They refused to try a second grade chapter book. Finally, in desperation, I copied the lyrics to Tom Petty's song onto an easel chart, since "rock lyrics" from a "rocker" was cool. I dragged the CD player into the tutoring room and plugged in, hoping for the best.

Finally, thank the Lord, they learned to read the lyrics and then we moved to books. Sometimes a song is more than a song. It is the key to the kingdom known as literacy.

1 comment:

maggiegracecreates said...

Unconventional - yet highly thoughtful. Finding a way to get through to kids is the most difficult part of teaching and parenting.

I have used everything from bribery - to threats and punishment - and I have found that a healthy dose of reality (now including rock songs) has been very effective.

Have a wonderful day.