Friday, May 15, 2009

Topic: What Is Reading?

10-second review: Presents a view of reading with which I (RayS.) don’t disagree, but which I think needs to be extended to apply to the real world.

Title: “The Benefits of Sustained Silent Reading: Scientific Research and Common Sense Converge.” EM Garan and G DeVoogd. Reading Teacher (December 2008/January 2009). 336-344. A publication of the International Reading Association (IRA).

Summary/Quote: “As reading teachers, we recognize the joy that comes from getting lost in the pages of a good book. We fondly recall the books that inspired and changed us as children and that still influence us as adults. As teachers, we want to awaken that love and literacy in our students and invite them to experience that magic in our classrooms. We want them to grow into ‘skilled, passionate, habitual and critical readers’ (Atwell 2007).”

Comment: I suggest amending the last sentence to read, “active, purposeful, reflective readers who use the ideas they have read.”

“Joy” and “magic” might apply to some children’s books, but as children grow older, they are going to be required to read texts they don’t particularly want to read. Students will soon learn that they will not become immersed in every book they try to read. They need to learn how to deal with ideas that do not appear to have much relevance to their personal lives. There are ways to deal with these problems and they need to learn them.

Perhaps, one aspect of reading instruction should deal with, “What do you do when you aren’t interested in reading a particular text? How can you become interested in reading a very long book? What do you do when, as with many books, you encounter a boring part? How do you deal with reading difficult ideas?”

Reading is not always “joy” and “magic.” I think reading educators tend to forget that, especially in the elementary school. RayS.

1 comment:

  1. There you are. I read your comments about Three Cups of Tea which I finished this morning. I was intrigued by the idea of Book Club Prep because my (two) book clubs just natter on forever about what to read next. I'm sorry you didn't find readership. Or commentership or whatever. Do you use Twitter and Facebook? I'm not a huge fan but it does seem to be the way to get the word out. Anyway, thanks for the article on Three Cups. I loved it. (Many of your commenters were high school students, huh? I recognize that delightful intolerance of a "non-perfect" reading experience.) Thanks for writing. Ann