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2.10: You Are Also A Reader

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    Saturday January 5, 2008\(^{41}\)

    I'm thinking about making a PPT based on this...

    “You may not think of yourself as a reader and writer.
    But you are doing both in the broadest sense all the time.
    You’re reading your world every day; you compose your life.
    In the kitchen each A.M., you read the cupboards and refrigerator for breakfast options, cereal to eggs to bagels.
    You read the weather and read your closet, choosing your clothes by a complicated writer’s formula: what’s clean, what represents who I want to be today, what’s appropriate for the weather?
    You read the newspaper, perhaps, choosing quickly which story engages you and which you don’t need to read further.
    You read everyone at school and at work.
    You read the signs and ads and marquees on your way home and write your evening plan in your head: go to the mall, stop in to listen to the band at X, or stay home and watch Y on TV.
    You steal your daily habits from your family (think about Thanksgiving meals), your friends (there are clothes you borrow, sayings you pick up), your developing age and tastes (as a child you never ate artichokes, but now…)
    You steal the right office or school moves by watching others in the same or similar situations.
    You see what I mean, I think.”
    –Wendy Bishop, “Reading, Stealing, and Writing Like a Writer,” Elements of Alternative Style, 1997.

    Posted 1/5/2008 at 4:20 PM


    By the time\(^{42}\) students arrive in college, stories beginning with “once upon a time” are long gone, and in their place are difficult and dense texts—often multimedia texts— from a range of fields each with its own set of conventions. Instead of drawing on models of early literacy education that focus on teaching reading and writing simultaneously, college and universities largely privilege writing over reading. This hierarchy is evidenced by the universal first-year writing requirement in American colleges and universities, as well as by writing across the curriculum programs. The integrated approach to teaching reading and writing falls away to students’ peril and causes great frustration in the professors who often attribute students’ struggles in their courses to poor writing ability, when these problems are often related to students’ reading difficulties. While students’ eyes may make their way over every word, that does not mean that students have comprehended a text or that they are prepared to successfully complete the writing tasks associated with the reading, which often involve summary, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.

    More importantly, if students are not given the opportunity to continue working on their reading throughout their college careers, they may struggle analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating all that surrounds them since comprehension is a crucial step toward these more advanced interpretive practices. Students may lack the ability to read the world around them because they do not have the tools to recognize the values and assumptions that inform the images, advertisements, news stories, political campaigns, and ideas with which they come into contact daily. By not focusing on reading as an equally creative and active enterprise as writing—very much writing’s counterpart in the creation of meaning— colleges and universities are potentially producing students, or citizens, who think reading is passive. These students might blindly accept whatever comes their way rather than actively engaging ideas, asking questions, and seeking out multiple perspectives.

    Although writing is more often thought of as a creative act, reading is just as creative. When one writes, one is creating meaning by putting words and ideas together. […] This is why a few people might read the same novel\(^{43}\) but each take something different from it. That personal transaction with the text has affected how each reader creates meaning. When reading and writing are taught alongside each other in the college-level classroom, students can gain practice experiencing and relishing in opportunities to create meaning not just through writing, but through reading everything from print texts to art to websites to national news events, all of which they will continue to engage beyond school. Focusing on active reading approaches, including everything from comprehension strategies to ways of determining something’s inherent values and biases to productive methods of responding, is crucial if students are going to leave postsecondary institutions prepared to be informed, aware, and engaged citizens.



    This chapter could be copied and pasted into an editable Google Doc so that students could annotate collaboratively and discuss their reading strategies.

    Reading Strategies\(^{44}\)

    Most discussions and writing assignments–from brief responses to in-depth research papers–will depend on your ability to understand what you read. Following are some strategies for getting the most out of assigned readings. 

    Tuesday February 19, 2008 

    So, there were these two "experts" on The Today Show this morning... talking to [a host] about how Americans are "getting dumber." I had to chuckle to myself a few times. The woman was proclaiming that when students read online material, they don't connect it to the world around them like they would if they read books. Before I even jump into her claims, I had to wonder, "DO THESE TWO EXPERTS TEACH?" Are they trying to resolve this so-called problem? Now, as for the claims about reading, it seems like this woman has never read a blog. I mean, I use my blogs to CONSTANTLY connect to the world around me. And since I read others' blogs, I do the same. Connect to them. Whether I know them or not. AND, lastly, one CAN NOT force students to read read read. It loses all fun that way. One can only simply place a book in front of them that may spark some interest which will cause the domino effect; they'll want to read more. I read lots of Shakespeare when I was younger; what do I read now? Everything but "him" (yea, I'm one of "those people" who thinks he was probably a she or many, many people. Blasphemous, I know.) because I didn't connect to those plays AT ALL. Now, Catcher in the Rye, yes! Fahrenheit 451. Yes. To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes. 1984. Animal Farm. Haroun the Sea of Stories. Why Men Love Bitches. You Just Don't UnderstandRule of the Bone.


    Are we getting "dumber"? It depends. On definitions... what does it mean to be "intelligent"? What does it mean to be "dumb"? It seemed like they were using the fact that, on average, we don't know who Bill Gates is (but we do recognize Harry Potter) or where Iraq is located to claim we are dumb. That's it? That's how we determine one from another? Based on just those items? Perhaps what they should've said was that those with "book smarts" are shrinking in population, but those with "street smarts" are not. What I worry about is the small thing they covered; it's "cool" to be "dumb."

    Posted 2/19/2008 at 10:12 AM




    \(^{41}\)Blog entry by Sybil Priebe; licensed CC-BY.

    \(^{42}\)Snippet from = Carillo, Ellen C. “Reading and Writing Are Not Connected.” Bad Ideas About Writing. Edited by Cheryl E. Ball and Drew M. Loewe. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Libraries, Digital Publishing Institute, 2017. CC-BY.

    \(^{43}\)The original text does not place a comma here, but Microsoft Word wants to! It’s understandable with or without the comma, isn’t it?

     \(^{44}\)1, 2, 3 Write! by Gay Monteverde is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

    \(^{45}\)This tip might as well be called The Power of the Pause. Pause in your reading. Take a minute to understand that last sentence or paragraph.

    This page titled 2.10: You Are Also A Reader is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe (Independent Published) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.