Tests and Meanings
Mike Levy and Jeff V both talked about the reading child who reads everything, including the back of cereal packets as a response (I think) to my argument that checking understanding may not be the way to encourage reading.
Mike said: I read cereal boxes at breakfast as a child, advertisements, virtually anything that appeared before me (still do). ..., but also those awkward, educator-approved controlled vocabulary reading sets, the kind where each child is tested and assigned a set of readings on some wholesome topic at exactly their reading level. I loved those things in elementary school and was pleased every time I finished a set and moved up to another level.
There are two points here: the children I was referring to at the time (a reminder to myself to clarify this point) are those who are being taught to read by reading aloud to the teacher, who checks as they go that they are understanding what they have read. These are not the Reading Child.
If a child becomes a Reading Child, then those graded readers become only one of many books in the hand (and on the chair, and by the bed) and the whole exercise becomes a game in which the child gets constant ego-boo. (I can imagine a Reading Child tho' who is not a quick reader, for whom they become an obstacle in the way of the books he wants to read).
For the Child Reader, if they become either the only or the majority of the books read, and comprehension tests become permanently associated with reading, then the chances of reading seeming like fun will probably diminish.
My daughter is a seven-year-old of the steer round lamp-posts type...She's highly resistant to the book analysis that the school encourages. They want her to write about every book she reads; I'm not very supportive of this because I know firsthand from people who found that terribly destructive
You'ld think people would learn from their own experiences as adults on this one. As a book reviewer, it's amazing how much less appealing even something I want to read can become when someone says "500 words by Monday".