Chloe Price ENG 375 Adolescent Reader Interview 13 October 2011 Interest feeds Interest Malachi is an active sixteen

year old, who lives in Schuylerville, NY. On any average day Malachi could be identified as the teenage boy wearing a worn out band t-shirt, smiley face Christmas pajama bottoms and neon pink, duct taped shoes. If his parents have caught him in time, the pajama bottoms may turn into a wrinkled pair of jeans. He has brown hair and a self proclaimed goofy smile. His interest lay mostly out of school. Malachi is a go with the flow kind of guy. He rather play his guitar and look up musical things on YouTube with his other music loving friends. Malachi nicknamed Mali (Mal-eee) is in a band that he co-created with his best friend and drummer, Connor. Their band is named the Sum Flow and plays variations of rock, including indie and classic. They are currently looking for band mates since half of their band broke off and created a country duo. Malachi is also part of the track team at high school. He only does it to stay active though. At least that is how he describes it, in a low laid back ³eh´ kind of way. Mali is the oldest boy in the set of four children. Unfortunately for him the oldest boy doesn¶t gain any power, he¶s the third child after two older sisters. I think Malachi¶s laid back attitude comes from this situation; he was never able to get a word in. However when he does have a chance to speak uninterrupted, he is thoughtful, humorous, and blunt. There are often many surprises because he does not choose to filter his comments. If asked why he doesn¶t, a response follows similar to, ³Why Chloe? I mean that¶s how it is right? So why do I have to make it nicer, if it¶s true?´ In this light, he is right and all I can do is laugh. Many of these instances occurred while interviewing him as an Adolescent Reader.

³Oh hey Malachi, I need you to help me with my homework´ I said as he was playing a video game. ³Ok sure´ he replied without even blinking in my direction. ³What do I do?´ ³Well´ I started, ³I need to interview an Adolescent Reader.´ There was a pause and a couple explosions from the videogame, and then he started laughing. Apparently he needed a moment to register what I had stated. ³You know Chloe, I am only one of those things.´ He started laughing again and continued with his game that he never looked away from. When it came time for the interview, he still seemed hesitant if I had made the right decision. We started with the icebreaker, ³Define Reading´. ³Umm do I have to be really detailed and stuff?´ was his reply. I explained that it¶s whatever he felt worked for an answer. ³Alright lemme give you something to work with«´ Half expecting that he would say something sarcastic, the first surprise happened. ³Reading is like a past time and it can also be really in depth«but you like really have to relate to the author to be drawn in like the way he¶s writing«it¶s just whether you know what he¶s saying«´ Pleasantly flabbergasted I didn¶t have a response, so Malachi continued, because now he has a captive audience and a thought, he can continue on without interruptions. ³Think about it, there¶s been a lot of critically acclaimed books that all are artistic and stuff but you can really care less because their writing is soooo awkward.´ He had a point. I begin to think about the literary canon that had lost their effects on me when I was younger because I couldn¶t relate. The concept of students wanting to relate to their reading is not new. In Beach, she states, ³The key to active, involved reading of literature is engaging with a text« relevance is crucial to a student¶s ability not just to understand but also to experience a text´ (66). We have talked about this in many classes. Students want to have a connection and not just read because they are forced for a grade. The ability to connect is what

Malachi touched upon in the first question and was a common theme throughout the rest of the interview. ³Malachi, what is a good reader to you?´ ³Umm to be a good reader is to not read because you feel like you should or because someone is telling you to, but because you have interest in a certain book and get in to it« [it¶s] not how often you read or how good of a reader you are but if you give a crap.´ Once again Mali¶s blunt ³give a crap´ statement resounded in me. He was being practical, he wasn¶t focusing on grades or reading levels, just whether or not the reader cared enough to actually engage with reading. At this point I was so happy that I chose him to interview. He was being honest and thoughtful while keeping his candid approach to life. After all of the insight Mali had been bringing to this conversation, I put him on the spot. Referring back to his ³I am only one of those things´ statement, I asked him how many hours he spends reading. ³Say that you took the average hours of reading, that would be estimated to zero hours a week!´ The exclamation point at the end of his comment was actually a facial expression similar to Jim Henson¶s Muppets; his mouth wide open with a smile in his eyes, quietly asking if anyone got the joke. I asked him if the estimated time of zero hours a week meant that he was rounding down. That perhaps he only read like fifteen minutes? Malachi clarified, ³I mean that I rarely read books and then when I do, I do it all in one sitting and then don¶t read again say that following week´. I asked him when he does read since his average hours per week are so low. Mali laughed, ³It¶s completely random! I don¶t choose a time to read. IF I see a book and for whatever reason I want to read it then I do it A-sap«.I don¶t read at all but if I do, it¶s my big priority at the time.´ It seemed that the majority of our interview Malachi was trying not to negate his overall statement of ³not being a reader´. However, what he didn¶t realize was that all his statements

lead me to believe that he enjoyed reading it and was probably good at it. When we got to the part of our interview where we focused on reading in and for school, a whole new side of Malachi¶s reading ability was shown. He actually said he was pathetic about it. This was another surprise though. I had asked him about school and what his reading is like there. He laughed at his own thoughts before answering, ³This is where I seem ridiculous to say that if I did read books often I would probably be totally pathetic about it«When I¶m reading a book at school like two thirds of the time I can care less about it right?« say I do like the book, we start the book and read it in class«I¶ll bring it home and finish it«´ After his comment, I lost my composure and started laughing. He found himself pathetic because if he likes a book, he reads it all the way through. Is this not what teachers want from their students? Malachi continued to throw me curve balls all the way to the end of the interview. He explained that reading out loud was ³monotonous´ for him because he starts with the class and then keeps reading through. When asked what his favorite assigned book was, he couldn¶t answer because he had read so many books in a classroom, he couldn¶t decipher which were actually assigned and which he just picked up from underneath a desk in a study hall. (I think Malachi is a closet bookworm.) Ultimately, he said that his favorite was The Giver although he couldn¶t decide if it was an assigned book. He said that it was his favorite because, ³«it was actually able to not only make a world beyond what your used to, but just go completely beyond what you¶re able to think about«´. Mali clarified his statement about the book by giving me an example of one of the characters and his experience with an apple. ³He had an apple and he described it as it changed, not the shape or texture, it just changed. So you and the character are like AHHH what the heck is happening here? It turns out that the apple gained color«´ The way

Malachi described this book reflected on how engaged he was with it. He identified with the character and appreciated the author¶s techniques. Malachi took a lot of time to explain The Giver to me and to make me understand where he was coming from. At the end, he summed it up that ³I just had to read it to understand´. I told him I had read it and he was frustrated and asked why I didn¶t help him out then? This lead into how he felt that the best way for teachers to reanalyze reading was to talk about it. Malachi explained how he didn¶t like writing assignments that had a ³bunch of order to it´. He liked this attribute in other classes¶ assignments but not English. He wanted the ability to explain in full what he thought and not have to shorten it or arrange it fit the language of the assignment. ³I feel like it would be easier to just verbally tell the teacher what they need to know «it would save us both time«´ I asked if he thought the point of the assignment was to help him process his thought and make it more logical? He didn¶t want to respond to that he felt speaking was easier and more efficient. In Gutchewsky¶s article she did not say that discussing the book with the student was more efficient but she did say that she saw a change. She states, ³I found that the book talks were successful, and it seemed as though students enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the books they read´ (82). Another point in Gutchewsky¶s article that applied to Malachi was that ³seventy percent of the students said they like to read«as long as they¶re reading what they like´(84). Malachi made it very clear that he doesn¶t read unless he likes it or ³can get into it´. In fact when I asked if he had any last thought s on the whole reading subject he thoughtfully said, ³Umm how about only read if you feel like it´. Just as I was about to interject he said, ³Probably not a very good thing to encourage most children, but it works for me«´. I told him that he was

probably right. However in reality I know that his statements are true. Children are only interested if it¶s interesting to them.

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