Impact & Stories

Voices & Views: Middle School - High School

Touches on the Text

Pat Kovalan teaches biology and is learning about Reading Apprenticeship routines and the value of SSR. As a weekend-league soccer player, whose son plays soccer, he found himself making connections between the benefits of "touches on the ball" and "touches on the text."

“My son has a soccer coach,” Pat explains, “who put out an email saying that every kid gets a thousand touches on the ball in a one-hour practice. He’s kind of a cocky guy, so I said, ‘I’ve got to go see this.’ I went and I actually counted. Every player touched the ball a thousand times and sometimes more. Then when my son comes home or another player comes home, they’re getting even more touches on the ball—they’re volleying the ball off a kick wall, kicking it into the net, juggling the ball—because they’ve found a passion for it.

So in class, if you’re getting kids set up for reading, teaching skills and strategies, giving them lots of practice, they fall in love with SSR and a book. Then they’re going to be reading outside of class, at home—getting a lot of touches on the text. Kind of like my son with his soccer ball.”

Pat Kovalan teaches biology at Thornwood High School in South Holland, IL. He is taking part in Project READI.

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