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Reading for pleasure May 6, 2009

Filed under: Books,Education — Ms.M @ 9:25 am

For the first time I’ve really been taking stock of the books I’ve been reading; more out of curiosity than anything. Since this past summer I’ve read over 100 books; I never imagined that that was possible. I knew I was a prolific reader, but since I never bothered to look into the amount of reading I was doing, I never really thought about it. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t think the number of books I read is by any stretch of the imagination an indication of knowledge acquired, reading ability, or intelligence. I don’t think those sorts of things can be measured as easily as all that. The only thing I know is that the more I’ve read, the more pleasure I’ve gotten out of reading.

The research says that the more someone reads, the better they become at reading; I don’t know why, but that seems like common sense. We become better writers by writing, better leaders by leading, better anything by anythinging. Why in the world would it take research to prove this? Is common sense that shortchanged? The kicker is must schools don’t view learning in this way.  Most schools have to have those magic numbers: 100 books read; 100 correct answers; 100 assignments completed. How do you measure reading pleasure?

To jump off of yesterday’s post, you could very easily determine someone to be an intelligent and capable reader, by every current method of measurement, who after however many number of years of schooling decides they are no longer required, or do not want to read. The reason, I’m assuming, is that they acquire no pleasure from reading. Should we consider our teaching a failure if students don’t read once they graduate?

After all, since we know the more they read, the better readers they become, a complete disassociation with reading would almost imply the opposite. Every year after graduation that they don’t practice reading, in the same way as those that don’t practice a language, or don’t practice a craft, they become less able readers? No?

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