On Reading

Show me a student who is a reader, and I’ll show you a writer. Show me a strong analytical writer, and I’ll show you a sophisticated thinker. 

Anecdotal? Perhaps. But in my experience, there is a clear correlation between the three. 

It’s not wholly true that students don’t read. Ask a student and they’ll tell you. They read Textbooks, Text Messages, Instagram Posts,  Online Sites of Interest, even the occasional Email (though reluctantly – email is pretty old school today!)

But none of us read the way we used to. I don’t exclude myself. Although a voracious reader, I have gone from reading a book or two a week to maybe one every month. I read more online, finding myself losing focus more easily, finding it more difficult to immerse myself in a body of literature…

And yet, when I do get lost in a book, I thoroughly enjoy myself.

I’m experimenting with ways to incorporate more reading into classes. Not necessarily fiction ( though the odd bit of poetry is a surprising hit!), but also a variety of articles for discussion, analysis, and interpretation. Students sometimes struggle with reading for homework, so I’m embedding the analysis into class time. 

There’s only so much time. But I suspect the rewards are worth it.

3 thoughts on “On Reading

  1. I really like your point Denise that we do not read the way that we used to. It makes me think about notion of ‘networked publics’ defined by danah boyd in It’s Complicated:

    Networked publics are publics that are restructured by networked technologies. As such, they are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice.(Page 8)

    In the time before social media we still had networks, they were just different. I wonder if one of the challenges we have is recognising that what we did yesterday is different today.
    In regards to reading and writing, I like the way J. Hillis Miller puts it:

    As we read we compose, without thinking about it, a kind of running commentary or marginal jotting that adds more words to the words on the page. There is always already writing as the accompaniment to reading.

    I agree with you that student write and read today, I sometimes think that one challenge is valuing this.

    Syndicated at Read Write Collect

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