Well, that happened to me last week while attending a reading training. The presenter shared this amazing little analogy that rocked my world. Ready for it? Here it is:
Reading is like enjoying a Snickers.
Allow me to explain.
This particular training was about fiction texts and how to make elements of plot more understandable for students. The conversation turned to struggling readers and the presenter told us a story.
She told us about an experience she had when she was working with struggling high school readers several years ago. She realized that they were not truly thinking about what they were reading, but rather just word calling. So, one day she brought in a mini Snickers for each student. The kids were obviously excited and wanting to enjoy the candy. However, she told them that if they wanted to eat the Snickers in class, they could NOT chew it at all. Of course the students were upset saying, "What's the point of eating a Snickers if you can't chew it up? That's the good part!"
And so she explained to the students, "If you were to just swallow the Snickers whole, you miss out on all the great flavors. The best part of eating a Snickers is when all the different flavors mix together in your mouth: the peanuts, the chocolate, the caramel, and you get all that deliciousness swirling around. The same thing happens when we read. Something is supposed to happen. The words come off the page and swirl around in our brains. They mix with all the things we know and answer questions we might have. The words help us make a picture in our minds. That's what it means when we read and think at the same time. There's a lot going on in your mouth when you eat a Snickers, and there should be a lot going on in your head when you read."
I mean, seriously! How simple! How relatable! How perfect!
Struggling readers who lack the ability to visualize and truly think when they read miss out on the joy of reading, the deliciousness. Making this concrete connection to something so simple shows kids how enjoyable reading can be.
Why didn't I ever think of that?!
Here's a little graphic that puts it as succinctly as I could:
Thank you so much to the amazing lady who shared this great analogy!! ;)