A disinterested student… what’s really going on?

True story.

First session with a new student and you find her disinterested and passive aggressive. She mumbles and resists tracking words with her finger. You begin to wonder how you are going to approach the next six months.

Fast forward to the third session. Ten minutes in, you turn to her and ask, earnestly and respectfully, if she wants to read with you… or if she would rather give her special time to another student. You let her know that you will not be upset if the choice is not to read with you anymore, but that if she wants to read with you, then she will need to repeat words clearly after you and track each word with her finger.

You let her know that she has the power to choose. Does she want to read with you, or would she rather give her special time to someone else?

The student responds “I want to read with you!”

You say “You want to read with me? That’s great! Let’s get started.”

Suddenly the whole reading experience shifts to positive.


The student simply wanted to feel control and did not realize that control can be a positive action. In verbalizing “I want to read with you!” she experienced the thrill of making a positive choice.

This is our mission. In helping students learn to read in a safe, supportive environment we also teach empowering life lessons.

Keep up the good work!

Jean Miller