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The joy of reading


sterling

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I have several friends who don't read or like to read - they believe reading is flipping through a magazine. Quite frankly I think people who don't like to read are pretty one-dimensional lol - they kind of lack imagination and forward thinking.... but that's just my opinion. Not to say that if someone in here doesn't read I'm calling them names - reading has always at least to me broadened horizons and think about things I would not have thought of by myself.

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The essay is excellent. I love to curl up on a rainy day and read a novel. It transports me to another place. One of the things I want to do when I retire (besides practice the violin!) is to read the English and American classics, *all* of them. I grew to love classic literature. In high school, I only had enough time to read assigned books for class between violin practice and homework.

Ahhh, leisure time would be a great springboard to reading. Someday...

smile --D

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Wow, MJ, perhaps you could loan your friends a few small books --get them hooked slowly - start off with books about their hobbies or other fun interests!

The non-readers I've encountered are young, and it's always been intriguing to encourage them to read and all the many good reasons to do so. Sometimes it's like banging my head against the wall, but it amuses me to feel like a grandparent dispensing advice to a young wayward child!

Books should be your first best friend.

Anne

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My daughter is into the seventh Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and although some of the content is pretty scary even for her middle-aged mom here, at least she's reading!

Me, I was left with WOman's Day and Family Circle, with TV Guide as bach up. The elementary school library just didn't have the same appeal. Then I graduated to fish tank manuals and books about cats and polants. After THat, the high school teachers were ouzzles as to why I failed Romeo and Julietat 17.

Strange how I managed 90% in the last year of high scool at age 32, with Shakespeare a HEAVY requirement. Poetry composition, too.

You don't know what you've got till you use it, but now reading for fun is a wee bit lower on my list than instructions on how to do things.

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This may take a while. And I may make a few enemies along the way...

See, I was always one of those people who absolutely HATED reading. I could write very well and this would confound every English teacher I've ever had. "Oh you must love to read". And when I said that I didn't they always said "how's that possible?". Well I can't explain it either.

The thing was that they always tried pushing the "classics" on me. And I no matter how much I said that I didn't like them they kept on pushing. In one English class we were forced to read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (and I say "forced" because there's no way on God's green Earth that I'd ever read it by choice). I was quite literally bored to tears! When the teacher went around the class she asked me to give my impressions of it I stood up, looked her square in the eye and said "This book sucks and I'll tell you why right now!!". Needless to say my candor was not appreciated.

One of the things that always bothered me was that many books just don't move fast enough. I often found myself literally screaming "GET TO THE POINT!". Some writers are so in love with the sound of their own voices and forget about the audience. The other thing is that books were passive. I've often used the term that books aren't what I call a "living medium". While things like video games and music unfolded in "real time". I can push a button and something happens. I push another button and something else happens. You have a hand in the outcome. Music especially so. I can pay and I can see what Paul McCartney does. I can sit in a theater and watch what an actor does. But I can't watch John Grisham write a book. The other thing was it was hard for me to relate to writers. I literally gave no thought as to who wrote books. All I knew was that they were all either old men, dead, or both! A perception that I still tend to have to this day.

See, I had always been into adventure films, Bond and super heroes. But nobody ever thought to think along those lines. It was always about what THEY thought I should like. Or what I was supposed to like according to the guidelines of the New Haven Board of Education. No teacher or anyone else had ever said "Have you ever read Lord Of The Rings?" or "You like Bond, there's a guy named Robert Ludlum you might like". It was always "No, no, no... more Dickens, more Shakespeare, more Arthur Miller. If it's not self indulgent and tedious you're not learning anything". That's where the clash always was. I wanted to be ENTERTAINED first and foremost. And what academia deemed worthwhile simply wasn't. I had one teacher that when ask "what was the best thing you've ever read" I told him it was X-Men the Dark Phoenix Saga. When he pressed me to change my answer I told him "You asked what was the best THING I had ever read and I answered, now the answer isn't good enough, no I'm not changing it". I asked him if he wanted to read it and if he then still thought it wasn't serious story telling I'd change my answer he said he wasn't going to "waste" his time. I told him I wasn't changing my answer. To me THAT is narrow minded.

One thing I've always said is that if the public schools hadn't bored the life out of me I wouldn't have discovered comics or Japanese anime. Anime especially was something I took to quite readily and quickly. Cowboy Bebop, Lupin the 3rd, and especially Captain Harlock all really resonated on a level that the alleged "classics" couldn't. And later on many video games had deeper plots than most books I had read in school. Pound for pound, the greatest story that I had ever come across was from the video game Metal Gear Solid. Ask me what I read in tenth grade English (after Ethan Frome I stopped paying attention) and I honestly can't remember. But I can recall just about every detail from Metal Gear Solid and it's sequels and tell you what the underlying themes were. Some may scoff at such a notion, but you have to ask what did Metal Gear Solid do right that so many English teachers over the years do utterly wrong?

Now I'd hate for anyone to think that I'm "anti-reading". That's not really the case. I actually do like the work of Clive Cussler. No surprise, it's what I enjoy. Daring adventures, narrow escapes, thrilling chases, etc. And it was recommended by a neighbor. But because of my experiences it's a constant struggle. I always feel like it's homework and not something I should be enjoying. Will it ever change? Who knows. But I'm trying and I think that's at least a start.

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I remember having read "The Monster At THe ENd Of This Book" aloud to my daughter. Of course, a Sesame Street character kept begging us not to turn the page, boarded up the pages, put brick walls up, and it was him. The ever lovable blue furry momster what'shisname.

The voice was VERY difficult to mimic.

My Dad read to me every night at bedtime, and put on voices, but try as he did, he couldn't leave a word out because I had a photographic memory, and the word was on some blackboard in my mind.

We're encouraging parents to read to their children again, "Raise A Reader" promotion, and it sure beats expecting kids to sight read in Grade 1 themselves, which I thiink the teachers should be flogged for. My daughter was expected to read the word "chrysallis" and they hadn't covered the hard "ch" sound yet! (I wanted the teacher's paycheck that time around.)

Like I said, now she's into the the latest "Harry Potter" adventure, becaue the teachers are realizing that there are different learning styles.

Ah, for the Bobbsey Twins and Hardy Boys...

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We're encouraging parents to read to their children again, "Raise A Reader" promotion, and it sure beats expecting kids to sight read in Grade 1 themselves, which I thiink the teachers should be flogged for.

I know things have changed over the years, but don't children still learn to read in kindergarten?

Capt H, I loathed "Ethan Frome" as well. I think it was the first book I read that I truly detested..and I had to rewrite part of the book in my head in order to get through it.

Anne

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Reading wasn't in our Kindergarten Curriculum much 44 years ago, so the teacher was doing most of the reading to us, and we got to know the title of the names on the binding, but the real thing came in Grade 1. Full-fledged fat readers with the adventures of some human or animal, most memorably: "Dick and Jane"! Well, that was a thin book,but now we don't have standard books.

Every kid has a different book to take home eachevening, and we check off that it was read,and comment upon the child's performance.

By second grade, they're off and running, but there are still some who slip through the cracks and need Educational Assistants.

It's funny that my Mom caught my third grade teacher in a spelling error in a comment on something I had done!

I have a so-called learning disabled son who can read anything on the phone display, in books, and on streeet signs. He can also remember the exact layout of every room in a house.

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Good for you, prettymom! Keep working with him! Brian was in a special school last year and there were errors in nearly every single note from her and both assistant teachers! It was clear that they dumped incompetent teachers in to watch kids that were considered impaired.

I fought the school district until I got him moved to a top-notch therapeutic school where he's turned into one of their top students (they teach the same way I homeschooled him.) In only a few months he surpassed their vocational program and was added into their acedemic/high school program. Stay on top of your son's education and be his strongest advocate, prettymom!

My Annie is also special needs and took herself from 2nd grade reading to 8th grade in less than a year using good old fashioned reading primers and workbooks here at home! My mom used to say that you can learn anything in the world if you can read a book.

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