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Fred Reed on Literacy - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
January 31st, 2005
05:35 pm

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Fred Reed on Literacy
I can't help but sympathize with much of this (Fred Reed reminiscing).

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From:dolohov
Date:January 31st, 2005 08:08 am (UTC)
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I remember chemistry sets. I always wish I'd done more with mine.

And yeah, I always thought I invented the reading-under-the-covers thing, too.
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From:shunra
Date:January 31st, 2005 09:21 am (UTC)
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Wellllllllllll...
...no friggin' way.

Learning how to read is easy - for some people. People who have fairly extensive experience in words used for communication, in dividing words into syllables, in rhyming and punning and kidding and joking - all of these are prerequisites for reading. A lifetime of delighting in words, and yeah, it'll only take a month to learn how to read. But how about the plugged-into-the-tv kids? The never-sung-to kids? The kids with the exhausted parents and too many siblings?

How about kids whose parents can either feed, clothe and house them or read to them? There's a lot of that going around, unfortunately. Just count the hours in a day, take off 8 for the job and 2 for the commute and 10 for the kid's sleep and you're left with a measly 4 for all the attention, going to playgrounds, eating, and child-raising activities. And you haven't even included playing with friends.

I'm lucky (beyond all reason) with the school district my kids go to. I see all *kinds* of kids there, including ones from families where reading is just. not. done. TV houses.

It's not that the schools are necessarily bad. They get the kids for 30 hours a week, and do some pretty good (and hard) work. There are wonderful, bright, committed people there. And they do what they can, in the limited time and with the limited resources they have.

TV is here to stay. So are dual-career families and kids-who-don't-have-a-clue. Obstacles to reading will be many and varied. In my world, there will be way more resources for families (at the expense of defense industries...), to nurture the next generations - but it's not my world. And dumping on the teachers, as Fred does, seems unfair to me.

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From:mux2000
Date:February 1st, 2005 04:19 am (UTC)
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I'm sorry, but I disagree. You can blame parents for lack of time and resources, and you can blame the teachers for their lack of resources, it's all true, but the problem is in the structure and intent of the school system. Kids that are taught not to want to read and learn before they even get a chance to see if they like it, will grow up without ever learning to read.

The point Fred makes is that kids are naturally born readers. All children. One has to work really hard to dissuade children from reading. Schools are designed to do that. Some parents, like Fred, take the time and patience to rectify the situation with their own kids, and some parents do not, and let their kids rot in front of the TV, but the accomplishment of the school system is that children no longer want to read.

The question is not who neglected to teach the kids, but who put in the effort to convince them not to learn themselves.
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From:shunra
Date:February 1st, 2005 06:57 am (UTC)
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The point Fred *actually* makes is that *HIS DAUGHTER* was a natural reader, I think.

But have it your way; work to reform the schools. ANY positive attention and energy put into that system is a good thing.
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From:mux2000
Date:February 1st, 2005 07:06 am (UTC)
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There's no such thing as a natural reader. The poit was that what a two-three year old can do in a month, anybody can do in 12 years, and moreover that all kids are born with the curiosity and the will to learn.

Re: ANY positive attention, I think any attention and energy (money) put into that system is a bad thing. Schools must be either abolished or completely reformed (and I don't mean 'reform' like what Mrs. Livnat is doing - more hours of tana"x won't change anything). Schools are intentionally meant to prevent people from learning.
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From:shunra
Date:February 1st, 2005 08:37 am (UTC)
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There's no such thing as a natural reader.

Right. Of course. Forgive me for having contaminated your world with a conflicting opinion.
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From:velfadar
Date:January 31st, 2005 09:58 am (UTC)

I'm sorry, have I missed something?

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'Erev Bialik was almost 4 days ago, not a word has been written of it since (much less a fine, detailed account) and what we get (and with all DO respect) is Fred Reed?
Are we doomed to not know how it went, just because bitter fate prevented us from making it?
Ah, but the anguish of it all.
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From:reneighssance
Date:January 31st, 2005 07:31 pm (UTC)

re: I can't help but sympathize with much of this

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I too.
And oh,that adorable "Bubble-Dew"!
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From:lilacsinmarch
Date:February 1st, 2005 10:57 am (UTC)

Re: I can't help but sympathize with much of this

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A userpic :).
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From:passacaglio
Date:February 1st, 2005 06:57 am (UTC)
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BTW, I think Chonsky claimed that if a child haven't learned how to read by the age of 12, he never will.
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