ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Free choice instills a love of reading and learning.  Force instills hatred.  I agree with the author that it would be difficult to come up with a more effective way to make people loathe and avoid books.

I love reading.  I will read the back of cereal boxes.  But I hated reading in school because it was far below my level and almost all of it was very badly written.  Now imagine that for all the kids who didn't go into school knowing that reading was awesome; they would conclude that it's always  torture.  Quite sensibly they cease doing it as soon as the force stops.  That's the problem with force; you have to keep it up or people immediately bolt.  And you can only force people to read while they're imprisoned in schools against their will.

I also designed and graded coursework for adult prison classes, where almost nobody can read.  The skill caps out around fourth grade level.  And yet I got a bunch of those guys absolutely hooked on reading -- by assigning them things by Langston Hughes and Lorna Dee Cervantes.  Up until then, most of them had no idea  that people like them could write things, or that anyone wrote about things they actually cared about.  At least one or two per class would just catch fire with it.  The others at least did the homework and learned something and had a not-terrible time exploring new things.

If you want people to learn stuff and enjoy reading, the only thing you have to do -- and the only thing that works -- is feed their interests.  Give them books about characters who are like them, and ones who are different.  Books about where they came from and where they ended up.  If they love cars, give them car books.  If they love flowers, give them field guides.  There are books on everything under the sun and everything beyond it too.  Books with pictures, with text, with pop-ups, with textures, with Braille.  Something for everyone.

Don't waste it.

Kind of off topic

Date: 2019-02-19 09:41 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] caera_ash
So, am I the only person out there who actually enjoys things below my skill level? Example: in elementary school the library books were classified at different reading levels. We were encouraged to check out books within a couple levels of where we tested (though mostly not strictly required to). I always tested high, and read voraciously, and the librarian knew it. However, I tended to read far below my level at least half the time. Like, they ran out of levels and I was still checking out a picture book I'd loved in kindergarten, and books from series we read in class. I didn't only go for that, I mean I also checked out things like Little Women, but...well. Even today I'll go find my old picture books or Royal Diaries books and reread them and I enjoy it.

And it isn't just reading either. I get to a point where I enjoy things, learn more, and then come back to the lower level. Skiing, cooking, artist attempts.

Side note: I slightly blame the librarian's attempts to get me to "read at my level" for the badly planned choice to read the entire horror section (because it was full of books at the highest level (more due to the stories than vocabulary or complexity) and had most of the fiction books I hadn't read before). AKA one of the big reasons I can't read or watch most horror today. Made the mistake of reading "Weasel". I still don't understand who thought putting that book in an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL library was a good idea. There are some things that shouldn't be available to small children when you don't have proper content warnings. I mean, it was mostly child me being overconfident in both my reading speed and maturity level but the urge to spite the person who told to stop checking out a picture book about adorable baby wolves played a part.

Re: Kind of off topic

Date: 2019-02-19 10:15 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] caera_ash
>>But usually there's not enough to hold my interest.

I read a book about a kid helping his mom get the stuff to make pancakes the other day because it was there and seemed interesting. I have low standards.

>>My junior high showed a movie about literal human sacrifice. Sometimes people just do batshit things.

>>Then again, I grew up reading my father's history books -- real ones, not the whitewashed stuff in schools -- so my perspective is

If proper content warnings had been a thing I wouldn't be so annoyed about it being there. Yes, horror is kind of a content warning, but the cute heartwarming books with helpful ghost dogs were also counted as horror because ghosts. Funny enough, I'm usually fine with scary/sad things in history/mythology books or songs. It's just fiction books and tv/movies that I have trouble with. Also Poe.

Re: Kind of off topic

Date: 2019-02-19 03:05 pm (UTC)
fuzzyred: Me wearing my fuzzy red bathrobe. (Default)
From: [personal profile] fuzzyred
You are definitely not the only one. I've always loved to read and never had any trouble with comprehension or anything but I read below by skill level for years. Thinking about it now, that might have been because my technical skill level and my maturity level didn't match up. I liked the topics and style of the "easier" books better. I didn't want to do a lot of thinking or delve into big, deep topics in my reading, I wanted to have fun with it.

Even now, I can enjoy a book much below my level, especially if it's about horses ot cute animals :) Sometimes it's nice to read something easy.

Re: Kind of off topic

Date: 2019-02-20 01:47 am (UTC)
fyreharper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fyreharper
Not the only one! I have a much better success rate finding books I like in the YA or Middle Grade sections vs Adult Literature. I mean there’s good stuff there too, but...

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 10:08 am (UTC)
rivulet027: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rivulet027
I had a tenth grade teacher that gave the class a long list of books from a variety of authors and subjects, some fiction and some non-fiction. I can't remember what the requirement was, I think two a month. He had a test for each book and as a student you got to pick what you wanted and you could do extra reading for extra credit. There was still the required classwork, but I'll always remember how much I loved that class and how he encouraged us to explore the world through books.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 11:54 am (UTC)
cmcmck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cmcmck

I went into school loving reading and reading stuff like 'Robinson Crusoe' and 'kidnapped' so they put me on a reading scheme for five year olds.


(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I love to read. Like, minimum 4 novels a week love to read, when I had the time. Always have. And yet, I swear the school system was trying to make us hate it. EVERY book we had to read was depressing. All of them. By the end, everyone was dead or miserable. Aren't teenagers already usually having enough issues without them being handed to us again? (Also making us read Lonesome Dove was just mean. 998 pages and all I remember is cattle, prostitutes, and nearly everyone died)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 05:25 pm (UTC)
erulisse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] erulisse
yessss. I ended up fudging my way through a lot of the required reading in high school (the two years of high school I actually went to) because it /was/ so depressing. I mean, I get that Of Mice and Men and the The Great Gatsby have Things to Say that are still relevant. But they were so not what I wanted or needed to be reading at the time.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-20 01:48 pm (UTC)
xevokitty: Choo Choo Bear spazzing on caffeine (Default)
From: [personal profile] xevokitty
Teachers that require reading John Steinbeck really need their head examined.... I've never EVER touched a Steinbeck book again after I got out of high school.

There's lots of WAY more interesting and inspiring stuff out there, anyway. :)

All the books!

Date: 2019-02-19 02:45 pm (UTC)
librarygeek: cute cartoon fox with nose in book (Default)
From: [personal profile] librarygeek
I read James Michener's Centennial in first grade for dinosaurs! :-p

I read his The Source in fourth or fifth grade and decided religion and theology was *much* more complex than most people wanted to think about, and that my mom really didn't censor my reading at all. The chapter with "He wore skins" dove so deeply into identity, what does it mean to wear anything, and skins as technology has remained in my memory, despite all the damage.

Yeah, I don't remember not reading either. ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 05:22 pm (UTC)
erulisse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] erulisse
I got really lucky - I was homeschooled in elementary and while I did have /some/ required reading, aside from what was in the curriculum my mom mostly let me read what I wanted or would suggest things based on what she knew I liked. And she read to me. She'd started when I was an infant as a way to stay sane while she was putting me to sleep (she'd read aloud from whatever she was reading at the time) and it stuck until I was in middle school and started reading things with more sex and magic in them than she was comfortable with.

She also gave me basically free rein of the library. Which was great but also has a lot to do with how I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil at eleven.

I'm still an insatiable reader although for pleasure reading I have a strong preference for space opera and other semi-escapist reading that is technically below my actual reading level. But reading /at/ my reading level is *work* and while it can be interesting, it's /not/ relaxing.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 06:00 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: line art Ecto-1 (Ecto-1)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
In middle school we would have 'free read' and sometimes I'd fish out books (from those in the classroom box) that were quite a bit easier than I could read, either because of topic or sometimes because I figured 'guaranteed fluff'. Also, I'd maybe not read many kids books since I was reading Asimov short stories at 6/7 years old? Also, I could finish them during the time allotted.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 08:20 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Thinking about this.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-19 09:47 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Two ways about this. One is your way: Give'em interesting stuff. That works. If you can meta-level it - get them interested in _learning_? Then all you gotta do (yeah right!) is keep their voracious reader-maws FED... this often involves multiple libraries, because no way are you gonna have that kind of budget, even for e-books.

(I remember a friend telling how his then-three-year-old had asked him where the GOOD stories were? And he replied, they're in the books with no pictures. The kid promptly declared that they were going to learn to read ASAP. "Elf," I said, "You've done the hard part. Now all's you gotta do is keep up.")

But, yeah. Giving your pupils representation is HUGE. What else did you add? Angelou? Haley? Butler? Barnes?

(By the bye, I posted a thing elseBook about a woman who was a big influence on Thurgood Marshall, the notorious RBG, and Eleanor Roosevelt. POC, and of course ignored in the books... until now... Pauli Murray. Tagged you.)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2019-02-19 10:32 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Natch. I figured mostly Black...

Angelou... managed to be both sassy and hopeful at the same time(*). I miss her.

(Like somebody else I know... ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-20 05:25 am (UTC)
catalenamara: (Default)
From: [personal profile] catalenamara
At one job, my co-worker and I went to lunch at different times – I had 11:30-12:30 and she had 12:30 to 1:30. She noticed early on I always had a book to read while at lunch, and one time asked me “Why?” As in, why would I want to read?

Back then I mostly read “beach books” at work – bestselling novels like “Jaws”, historical romances, and family sagas. I loaned her one. She came back after her first lunch break spent reading and told me, “Wow! It was like taking a mini-vacation!” (Yes, exactly.) I loaned her a lot of books from that point on.

I’ve always been a voracious reader. I taught myself to read when I was 3 by following along with my mother when she read to me. She sure was surprised when she realized I’d figured out how to read books on my own.

I loathed most of the books I was required to read in school. They’d skipped me two grades, so while my reading comprehension was way up there (I usually read all of the “reading book” designed for the full year within the first month), but because of my age I was nowhere near ready for some of the books we were required to read. Plus, I was raised working class in the rural Southwest, and many of cultural references in these books were beyond my comprehension. Science fiction was more accessible than “The Great Gatsby”.

Speaking of science fiction, the librarian in the two room library in my town had A Talk with my mother warning her not to permit me to read “boy’s books” – i.e., science fiction. Never mind the fact I was also reading “nurse novels” (a popular 1960s romance genre featuring, obviously, nurses in love with doctors), which was clearly far more socially acceptable back then than SF. (I was devouring library books at the rate of 2-3 per week and eventually read my way through a good portion of that small library.) I didn’t stop reading SF, though the librarian frequently gave me Disapproving Looks.

A few years ago I began a project of reading (actually listening to) many of the required reading books I hated back then, and I have a far better appreciation for them now. Many of them require significantly more life experience to understand than the ages in which they first introduce them to children.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-20 01:55 pm (UTC)
xevokitty: Big cat with a thoughtful expression (Cats - Thoughtful Look)
From: [personal profile] xevokitty
My husband hated reading books.

But did fall in love with reading once he discovered COMIC BOOKS.

So that's something to suggest to people in the future as well - comics might spur interest more than paperbacks.

(I've also collected comic books, but I was a voracious reader long before I got to that point of reading comics - dad had a lot of sci-fi and fantasy books, and my leisure reading is very escapeist.)


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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