This past week was not my favorite session of volunteering, but it did remind me that not every kid has the same attitude about school as others. Many of the kids that I help like school, and know most of what they are doing, but need some supervision to get their work done. However, this boy was different, and was very easily distracted. His mom told me that I should follow him when he goes to pick out a book, or else he won't come back. At the beginning, I kind of brushed that advice off, but I ended up needing it as the kid had disappeared and I had to look for him. I found him playing with the Legos in the children's book section. He was much more interested in building a tower than reading a book and finishing his homework.
Way more fun than homework!
While I understood that, and secretly agreed with him, I knew that I had a job to do. So, I talked to him about the kinds of books he liked to read. He was unwilling to tell me, so I asked him questions instead. Do you like animal books? No? What about adventure books? Not getting a good response from that, I then asked what kind of book he read recently and if he liked it. Finally! A response! He wanted to read a Halloween book. So, I found one off of the shelf and he agreed to read it to me. He refused to go back to the homework help room. I decided that I needed to pick my battles wisely, and I thought that getting him to read the book was more important than reading it in the right place. Therefore, we read it at a table in the children's area, and he brought his tower with him to the table. Once we were settled, he read it without complaining too much.
The Halloween book that he read to me.
This week was stressful for me, because I have very little experience working with kids, and when I do they are generally cooperative. However, I learned that it is easier to focus on the ultimate goal for the day. I also know that it is important for kids to make their own choices. Being able to choose what kind of book he wanted to read let him know that I was not trying to bore him, but get him more interested in reading. After this, I think I will be better able to handle distracted kids if this issue comes up again next week.