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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Lack of reading skills, which require practice

Lack of reading skills, which require practice

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I am a retired psychiatrist in the middle of relocating from the educational wasteland of Michigan to Wisconsin, where I attended Medical School. In my practice and a 12-step program I attend, I've had the opportunity to observe the poor reading skills of the majority of the population. I believe that what's missing is the regular practice of reading out loud in a group, which was fundamental to my K-12 education in Central Ohio, all those many years ago. Furthermore, when I read 12step literature outloud, I am often chided because I read with dramatic emphasis. These poor devils were never taught to read outloud. No reading=No learning. The "Twitter" Culture isn't helping. I intend to involve myself in adult Reading Outloud opportunities in my new community, a small town outside Madison, WI, but will, also, immerse myself in the stimulating intellectual culture of nearby Madison.

Reading really is fundamental, n'est-ce pas?


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Comments (4)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

While I agree that the ability to read and to speak out loud with emphasis is important, I'm not quite sure why you think Twitter is a problem, since many of the adults that you're meeting mostly had their school experience well before Twitter existed.

Gregg Miklashek, MD(retired)'s picture

You may wish to check out Nicholas Carr's new book, "THE SHALLOWS: What the internet is doing to our brains", for an explanation of the problem with Twitter.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

I don't know that I agree with you about Twitter. I know that the process of editing my thoughts down to 140 characters really helps me to clarify my thinking. In many cases I find that, I can't say it in 140, then I probably don't know what I want to say.

Brian Sztabnik's picture
Brian Sztabnik
AP Literature teacher from Miller Place, NY

While I agree that Twitter, SnapChat, and texting has transitioned communication away from verbal interactions, if we look at the larger context we must realize the communication is a fluid, ever-evolving part of the human experience. It can't be static because we are always looking for new and inventive ways to express ourselves. With each new technology, society has lamented the loss of something, yet we are blind to what is gained. You could argue that books took away from memorization, the phone suppressed face-to-face interaction, and now Twitter and digital technology are changing the way kids read. Yet, appreciate it for what it is, I believe kids are reading and writing now more than ever before. It may be in shorter bursts, but that teaches the importance of each word, a tenant of good writing. Our job as teachers is to show them how to use the power of words to craft intelligent, stylized messages, regardless of length or medium. This process of instruction should include asking them to read their work aloud. Or better yet, have a partner read it to them. So often when we re-read our own work, we say what we intended but not always what appears on the page. A partner, who reads the work for the first time, and inconsistencies will be revealed. The ear is still the best editor for any aspiring writer.

(2)
Brian Sztabnik's picture
Brian Sztabnik
AP Literature teacher from Miller Place, NY

While I agree that Twitter, SnapChat, and texting has transitioned communication away from verbal interactions, if we look at the larger context we must realize the communication is a fluid, ever-evolving part of the human experience. It can't be static because we are always looking for new and inventive ways to express ourselves. With each new technology, society has lamented the loss of something, yet we are blind to what is gained. You could argue that books took away from memorization, the phone suppressed face-to-face interaction, and now Twitter and digital technology are changing the way kids read. Yet, appreciate it for what it is, I believe kids are reading and writing now more than ever before. It may be in shorter bursts, but that teaches the importance of each word, a tenant of good writing. Our job as teachers is to show them how to use the power of words to craft intelligent, stylized messages, regardless of length or medium. This process of instruction should include asking them to read their work aloud. Or better yet, have a partner read it to them. So often when we re-read our own work, we say what we intended but not always what appears on the page. A partner, who reads the work for the first time, and inconsistencies will be revealed. The ear is still the best editor for any aspiring writer.

(2)

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