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Friday, February 13, 2009

More on What Matters....How about READING?!

OH, MAGIC HOUR WHEN A CHILD FIRST KNOWS IT CAN READ PRINTED WORDS!
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I'm a dinosaur, I admit it. I still believe that reading is and will always be a core value. No links, this is just an off-the-top-of-my-head post, but I know I've seen articles listing reasons why reading will not be an important skill in the future. All information will be accessible in non-written formats.
I don't believe it. I never will. Call it my inability to embrace change, call it what you will. I believe that reading matters BIG TIME. 
One of my defining interests as a teacher is literacy. I would love to see all kids love reading. I think every classroom in every school should give kids time to read.
 
Time. 
To Read. 

I'd like to see reading textbooks become extinct. Sheesh. There are so many good books to read to kids and for kids to read. The idea of a reading textbook? It makes no sense. ( I spent over a hundred dollars on my daughter's reading textbooks for school this year. Can you imagine if every parent spent that money, instead, to build a classroom's library or to build their child's at-home library?)
Real readers read. Real readers talk about and share books with others. Some real readers do related extension activities depending on who they are and how much they liked the book. 
 Real readers hang out in places like bookstores and libraries. Real readers enjoy stories and most enjoy hearing stories read aloud, even after they can read themselves.  Real readers get emotionally involved with characters. They think about the characters and the story beyond the time they are reading. Real readers go back and re-read things. Real readers don't need outside incentives to read. The incentive is the joy of the story. For young children, it's the warmth of cuddling with a special adult who reads aloud. 
Until children have been "hooked" on reading, what about giving them outside incentives to read? I'm ok with that. Whatever makes readers of our children is fine with me. What I don't want to see in schools are activities that make reading something inauthentic. I've seen too many children who believe that reading is something you do in school, that it has no real value in their lives. 
Building a classroom community that centers around authentic reading is actually fairly easy. To me, literacy, the whole, is more important than all the pieces and parts our schools seem to spend so much time teaching. Reading matters. 

2 comments:

Stephen C. Veliz said...

I could not have said it better myself. Too often when reading blogs and such on ed tech issues, I feel as if the message being sent is that to advocate for "old" skills like reading is a betrayal of the ed tech movement. Why can't we focus on both sets of skills?

Thanks for your post.

Andrea Hernandez said...

Stephen -I'm glad that you could relate to what I was trying to say. Sometimes, I'm not sure if I'm making sense. I agree with both sets of skills. I often find myself feeling in the middle, able to see both sides of things and not completely agreeing or disagreeing with either. It's can be an odd place to be. I even think worksheets have their time and place...shhh, don't tell, I'll be banished from the EdTech kingdom.