Reading Is Fundamental and Is Lost in the Translation

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Reading is fundamental, that’s true, but somehow this idea gets lost in the translation. Re-stated, it means, in today’s education system, that reading is fundamental when we make Johnny read and read and read until the words come out of his eyes and ears. At that point, it becomes a habit, so deeply ingrained in him, that it is only natural for him to pick up a book in his leisure time.

Imagine that: In a world of constant distractions and events flying by at high speeds, Johnny will read at a pace much slower than reality, where digressions and inner-space journeys intervene frequently. In order to prevent these diversions from happening, we bombard the child with a barrage—sometimes called a list—of thirty books to read on his own.

By reading, on average, three books per month, along with the summer bonus of ten more books, Johnny might become, for us, but unbeknownst to him, a reader, booklover, lifelong learner, in a naturally unnatural way. This is the fundamental way to impact the reading process, or the magic of reading, so he can sit engaged and bored simultaneously, and constantly thinking and asking questions about his future days, for example:

What are the easiest books to read and respond to?

How many pages in each of the books?

How many books can I finish each month?

How fast can I complete the list of books?

How can I read all the books without stressing myself out?

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But these questions, and the word “books,” seep into his dreams, which turn into nightmares, where he finds himself in a Kafkaesque world: one filled with endless piles of books looking down on poor Johnny, with him trying to comprehend everything he’s reading and keep his sanity as well.

And don’t forget the skills of critical-and-creative thinking, as well as recalling, focusing, concentrating, and reflecting on the words, sentences, images, thoughts, ideas, feelings, meanings, and connected real-life experiences communicated by the author(s). They took a long time to write their books, and hope readers would take their time to understand and enjoy them.

If students of all ages use their imaginations to visualize the words they read, and realize the feelings, thoughts, and experiences triggered by the mental image-pictures, they can respond to literature mindfully, organically, and holistically, and learn how to become genuine readers and students because they want to, and not because the education system makes them…

Reference book

Motivating Teen and Preteen Readers: How Teachers and Parents Can Lead the Way by Jeffrey Pflaum (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011)

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