I interviewed 2 students who I worked with in small group for two weeks. I picked them because they were 5th grade students with which I had developed great rapport. They could be considered struggling readers.
I picked an African American boy and a Latina Mexican American girl to interview. I wanted to see the different perspectives.
I was surprised that the African American student would like reading over video games. He said he really didn't play them that much. My nephews are around his age and all they want to do is play video games. He likes finding a place to read. He always brought one of his books he was reading to our reading group to show me. He likes action adventure stories sort of like the Perry Jackson series. He didn't remember how he learned to read. He does loves to read. When I asked him the last questions about describing reading he said AWESOME! I am so happy that he loves to read. He has books at home too but not tons. I really enjoyed interviewing him. I got to know him so much better and if I were his teacher then I would be able to cater my instruction around what he likes and what he feels about reading. I like idea of a reading questionnaire to be done periodically to check attitudes and interest. This interview reminded me of that.
The Latina young lady doesn't like video games too much. That didn't surprise me much because some girls don't get into that. She has some favorite books but couldn't recall too many or the titles except for Charlotte's Web. I asked her why she liked it. I was expecting quite a different answer. She said her dad died when she was three and she remember him reading it to her. For that reason it was special plus she identified with the main character and how she would want to protect her pig too.
She mentioned that she doesn't read that much. It sounded like she does it when she gets bored. Her mom brought her some books at home and at school during the book fair. She doesn't go to the public library since she just moved from Victoria to Houston recently. She misses her friends from her small town. She didn't remember learning how to read. Her sister reads to her. She said she usually doesn't read with expression like I did when I worked with them. She said she doesn't like to do that. Maybe because it could be embarrassing in front of her new friends? I didn't get to ask her why.
This interview definitely helped me see where these students are and how they see themselves as readers. You can definitely get an idea of what they like to read and their habits and literacy of the school and home environments. I got to know them so much better. If I had a chance to be their teacher in 6th grade, this would help me to learn so much about them personally as a reader and a human being. It would definitely inform my instruction as well as find books that they might be interested. I was curious to try this out on myself and have them ask me those questions so they could get to know me more through the interview process as well. Great experience!