Chances are good that anyone in America with a television set is able to read at least a little. Names of shows are flashed at us with music and fanfare accompanying the title. Names of the stars are printed across their images as they do things to attract our attention. Repetition reinforces learning. We know that. It’s a Hollywood moneymaker. Why, then, are we hesitant to reopen repetition for learning?
Fun with Dick and Jane Syndrome
My husband is the world’s biggest advocate of returning to the “Dick and Jane” reading style. For some of the younger audience, think “Janet and Mark.” These were extremely boring, stereotypical reading books with limited plots and heavy socialization. Every person had a role: an extremely limited role not even rewarding to the positively brilliant father who knew the answers to everything. Until a student mastered the first book in the series, they progressed no further. In addition, the student was limited by not being able to progress beyond the series book for his or her grade level.
I was a rebel. I read quickly and beyond the day’s assignment, because the better stories were at the end of the book. If I did not know a word, I wrote it down and asked someone at home. I was “caught” reading ahead one day and had to write, “I will not read ahead in my reading book” one hundred times at the green board while others got recess. Also, I lost my privileges for taking books home for the evening.
In spite of his advocacy of Dick and Jane, my husband does not read for pleasure. He reads to learn. He’s an excellent reader; standardized reading lessons gave him nothing to base a joy of reading upon.
The Joy of Reading
Yes, there is joy in reading. Many have not found it. Most do not know they are entitled to it. Some never started searching for it. Why is it important, and what can it do?
Discovering joy in reading inspires a person, regardless of age, to return to the same type of book, story, or poetry. If there are great pictures to accompany it, that is even better. It’s not that pictures are for kids; it is too expensive for printing companies to print color pictures in books that are going to be recycled. They try to wean the reader from expecting visual images by downplaying the importance of seeing what we are reading. “Use your imagination.” Imagination is great, but so are pictures. Textbooks get lovely color pictures because someone is paying a lot of money for each one of those books.
Find me a reader, quickly, please, and thank you!
Someone around you would like to read more profusely. Ask what their interests are. Show them how to find books they are comfortable with, while still improving their reading skills. Volunteer to read with them. Take turns reading out loud, where you won’t disturb others. Suggest to your reading pal that your joint venture be recorded for someone who cannot read. Now you both are helping someone else. You will feel good, and so will they, when they realize, “Hey! I can read that!”
Kudos to all who participate in education, and why
The basic reason for kudos is because education is needed. Deep down, there is a reason that people spend many years so they can participate in a field that is historically underpaid while demanding so much training. For most, it is the feeling that they have contributed towards helping people find their own self worth and ability to contribute to society. The secondary reason is that The Nation’s Report Card recently released the results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment of grades 4, testing 179,000 students, & 8, testing 161,000 students in Winter 2009.
Fourth Grade reading scores increased in 2009 over 2007 in four of the eleven participating districts: Boston, District ofColumbia, Houston, and San Diego. Eighth Grade reading scores increased in 2009 over 2007 in two of the 11 districts: Atlanta and Los Angeles.
The national roar demanding improvement in educating our children is having a positive effect. If we each take a vow to do what we can, when we can, to help, it will continue to make a difference for the better.
The Nation’s Report Card, Reading, Summary of Major Findings 2009